Organization of Shift Work in Health Care Services to Reduce its Effects on the Staff

Background: Shift working is an inevitable feature of the nursing profession, as health care services are provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Continuity, rotation and programming are the main characteristics of shift work systems. Aim: The aim of this special article was the presentation of the effects of shift working on the nursing personnel, and discussion of solutions that could be adopted in the design of shift systems in order to diminish the negative effects. Method: Studies reviewed in the paper were located by searching the electronic databases Pubmed, Cochrane and Scopus, using the key words: “shift work”, “shift work organization”, “shift work system”, “nursing personnel”. Results: The main negative effects of nursing shift working are reported to be subjective physical and psychological health problems, and disruption of social and family life. None of the shift work systems that have been proposed is optimal for the health worker, although attempts have been made to design them in such a way as to disrupt the level of somatic and psychosocial health of the nurses as little as possible. Conclusions: It is important for health care services to adopt all the necessary measures for organizing the schedules of nursing shifts in a manner that diminishes the negative effects on the health and well being of the staff, in order to promote job satisfaction and to improve the quality of the care provided.

Category: Volume 49, N 2
Hits: 581 Hits
Created Date: 15-06-2010
Authors: Anna Korombeli , Panagiota Sourtzi