Study: Overtime for Nurses Harms Professional Collaboration

Unfortunately, the scheduling practices are common and seem unlikely to change

Researchers at New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing recently concluded a study in which they found that working overtime has a negative influence on the ability of nurses to collaborate with colleagues.

“Our research suggests that the more overtime hours nurses work, resulting in extended periods of wakefulness, the greater difficulty they have in collaborating effectively,” said co-authors Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, PhD, RN.

The study, published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, assessed how shift length and overtime impact nurses’ perceptions of collaboration with other care providers—specifically with other nurses and physicians.

Some interesting findings highlighted by Medpage Today included:

  • Average shift length was 11.88 hours
  • 12-hour shifts are the standard across the profession
  • On average, nurses worked 24 minutes longer than their shift (this may seem out of sync with the previous two stats, but remember not everyone is scheduled for 12-hour shifts)

“One in three nurses reported working longer than scheduled. This appears to be a chronic problem for nurses – one that extends an already long work day and appears to interfere with collaboration,” the study’s lead author, Chenjuan Ma, PhD, said in the news release.

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