Is it time to pull the plug on 12-hour shifts?: Part 1. The evidence

J Nurs Adm. 2010 Mar;40(3):100-2. doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181d0414e.


Shift durations of 12 hours or more are now ubiquitous in hospitals, with currently working staff nurses reporting satisfaction with this shift length, although others who prefer shorter work hours have generally left hospital nursing. Nurse administrators are beginning to question the wisdom of having nurses work extended hours. In part 1 of this 2-part series, the authors provide an update on recent findings that challenge the current scheduling paradigm that supports unsafe long work hours. Part 2 discusses obstacles that nurse administrators face when they "buck the 12-hour trend" and offers guidance for introducing work schedule changes.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Safety Management*
  • United States
  • Workload