For the most part the other night shift nurses have worked nights for years & they swear there’s no way they’d switch to days. To test this belief, we calculated the average daily hours of sleep when working different shift lengths using our database of over 20,000 shiftworker surveys. At first glance, it appears that the people working 12-hour shifts get less sleep than those on 8-hour shifts. In our next schedule update we will use this information to evaluate a common 24×7 12-hour shift schedule.
A student nurse has collapsed and died on the first day of her work experience placement at a hospital.

Nights on a hospital floor are generally calmer, quieter, & less stressful than day shift. Before I know it, my alarm is going off & I’m lucky if I’ve gotten 2 – 3 hours of sleep. We asked our bloggers to share their experience of working with their Personal Registry Partner.
They worry that their employees won’t get enough sleep on the longer shifts, and the reduced alertness could lead to problems with safety and productivity. But this is not the case over a span of several days or weeks, due to the fact that 12-hour shifts provide twice as many days off and employees sleep longer on their days off.

Regardless of whether you compare someone working day shifts only, night shifts only, or a rotating shift schedule, the average hours of sleep over the four week period is greater on 12s. Although our shiftworker surveys rely on self-reported safety problems rather than documented incidents, the survey results suggest that longer shifts are at least as safe as 8-hour shifts, as shown in Figure 4.

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