The aim of this study was to explore clinical nurses' perspectives of shift length.
Discussions about scheduling practices, work rotations, and shift length are pervasive among nurses and nursing leadership. However, the science surrounding nurse perceptions of longer shifts is limited.
A survey instrument was developed and distributed to nurses engaged in the state's professional association.
Data from 190 clinical nurses were included. When working a 40-hour work week, 76.3% reported a preference for 10-hour shifts, whereas 83.5% preferred a 12-hour shift during a 36-hour week. Those who chose longer shifts perceived improved work life balance and better patient care. Those identifying 8-hour shifts also pointed to work life balance as benefit.
The results capture the voice of the nurse regarding shift length. The preference for the 10-hour shift within the 40-hour work week is novel. These results may assist with efforts to initiate change, improve the work environment and enhance home life.