Effects of extended work shifts on employee fatigue, health, satisfaction, work/family balance, and patient safety

Work. 2012;41 Suppl 1:4283-90. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2012-0724-4283.


12-hour shifts are quickly spreading in Europe. From our multivariate analysis concerning 25,924 European nurses, including twenty explanatory variables simultaneously, we found that work schedule itself is not a major determinant factor. Nurses aim to choose or accept night shifts or 12-hour shift in order to reduce their work/home conflicts, however, at the expense of the patient's safety, as well as their own health and safety. Therefore, it is important to develop measures, such as extended child care, association of nurses to the elaboration of their rota, 9- or 10-hour shifts in the afternoon, allowing naps during night shifts, and reduction of changing shifts with short notice. Work schedules must be organized in order to allow time for shift handover, social support and team building.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Family Characteristics
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing / organization & administration
  • Nursing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Patient Safety
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / physiology*
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / psychology*
  • Workload