Effects of night shift schedules on nurses working in a private hospital in South Africa

This study was carried out in 2 private hospitals in South Africa. The primary domain of this study is to determine impact of night shift routines on health and psychosocial issues with nurses employed in private hospitals. The goal is to assess the level of physiological and psychosocial risks imposed on nurses by shift-work. At the moment the majority of South African nurses, employed in hospitals are allotted to work a 12-hour shift, whether it is day or night shift. The idea is that ergonomically designed shift schedules will minimize the consequences of exposure to extended hours of night shift.

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We selected 2 hospitals to assemble more organizational information relating to night shift simply because they have similar administrative processes. Two teams of nurses were involved in the research, those taking care of day shift and the ones on night shift. Day shift nurses were involved as a group which is also allotted to work on night shift when their turn comes, being employed as rotational staff for a certain period. Thirty-eight nurses took part as respondents to a questionnaire and 26 nurses participated as a focus group.

The outcomes of this research uncover that night shift cause psychosocial strain and physiological strain to nurses, particularly those working a quick rotation. Nursing staff indicated more problems about night shift in comparison with day shift. Few nurses choose to work on the night shift. Nearly all those prefer night shift because of social problems like transport.

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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