How Differing Shift Lengths Relate to Quality Outcomes in Pediatrics

TitleHow Differing Shift Lengths Relate to Quality Outcomes in Pediatrics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsStimpfel, Amy Witkoski, Eileen T. Lake, Sharon J. Barton, Kathleen Chavanu Gorman, and Linda H. Aiken
JournalJournal of Nursing Administration
ISBN Number0002-0443
Accession NumberPMID: 23343725
AbstractOBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to describe the shift lengths of pediatric nurses and to measure the association of shift length with nurse job outcomes, nurse-reported patient outcomes, and nurse-assessed safety and quality of care in hospitals. BACKGROUND: Long work hours have been linked with poor patient outcomes in adult patient populations, but little is known about the relationship in pediatric settings. METHODS: A secondary analysis of cross-sectional nurse survey data was conducted. Our analysis focused on 3710 registered nurses who worked in 342 acute care hospitals that treated children. RESULTS: Most pediatric nurses worked 12-hour shifts, especially in intensive care settings. Nurses who worked extended shifts of more than 13 hours reported worse job outcomes and lower quality and safety for patients compared with nurses who worked 8-hour shifts. CONCLUSIONS: Allocating resources to nursing to improve working hours may be a productive strategy for administrators to improve the health and well-being of pediatric patients and nurses.