Introduction: Given the shortage of critical care nurses, emphasis has been placed upon improving their working lives through the implementation of flexible work hours.
Method: This descriptive exploratory study evaluated the effects of the implementation of the 12-hour roster in a regional intensive care unit (ICU). Staff (n = 19) completed a survey 12 weeks following the implementation of the 12-hour roster.
Results: The study demonstrated widespread acceptance (92%) positive impact on physical and psychological well-being and increased work satisfaction (58%) for the nursing participants. Similarly, nurses working both the 8- and 12-hour rosters (75%), the doctors and allied health care workers all identified increased continuity of patient care as an outcome of the 12-hour shift. Participants strongly agreed that 12-hour rostering was a good recruitment (67%) and retention (75%) strategy.
Conclusion: In an environment with considerable shortages of experienced critical care nurses, the use of flexible shift patterns such as the 12-hour roster was a positive recruitment and recruitment strategy.