Nurse overtime can degrade collaboration with physicians, study finds
- A new study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration found overtime may decrease nurses' ability to effectively collaborate with physicians and other nurses.
- Researchers from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing used 2013 survey data from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, analyzing responses from 24,013 nurses across 168 U.S. hospitals. While they found no "significant relationship" between average shift length and collaboration, the finding on overtime is the result of controlling for shift length, unit and hospital characteristics.
- Authors of the report suggested minimal use of overtime and, more realistically, fatigue management training and education.
The impacts of burnout on patient safety and workforce retention is a concern across the industry. Chenjuan Ma, assistant professor at NYU Meyers and the study's lead author, co-authored another study published earlier this month that found a significant association between patient safety outcomes and collaboration between nurses and physicians.
A Kronos Incorporated survey published last year found that 90% of nurses are considering leaving their hospital for another job because of a poor work/life balance. Additionally, 83% of surveyed nurses said hospitals are losing nurses because other employers offer a better work/life balance.
That survey also found that 44% of nurses said their managers weren't aware of how tired they were, while 43% hide their tiredness from their managers. Nurse burnout rates will only exacerbate as they take on a larger role in patient care management.
According to this most recent study, the average shift length for nurses in acute care hospitals was 11.88 hours across five types of nursing units. Compared to nurses in medical, surgical and medical-surgical units, nurses in critical care and step-down units had longer average shift lengths at 12.17 hours.
Also, researchers found nurses are working 24 minutes longer than scheduled on average, with 33% of nurses on a unit reporting working longer than initially scheduled. Additionally, 35% said the amount of overtime needed from nurses has increased over the past year.
In addition to risks to patient safety and retention rates, burnout is costing the industry a pretty penny. According to the newly-formed National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare, physician burnout is costing health systems $1.7 billion annually, while nurse burnout is taking a $9 billion toll on hospitals and costing the industry as a whole $14 billion.
- New York University Working Overtime Linked to Less Collaboration Between Nurses and Doctors
- Healthcare Dive Nurses are burnt out. Here's how hospitals can help
- Healthcare Dive Survey finds nurses love their jobs but are burning out
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