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Study: Patient safety may be at risk when nurses work long hours and second jobs

Researchers at New Yok University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing reviewed surveys of 4,500 newly licensed nurses in 13 states and Washington, DC, and found that they worked an average of 39.4 hours per week (typically 12-hour shifts). About 12% said they work mandatory overtime (usually less than 1 hour a week) and over 45% work voluntary overtime (averaging 3 hours a week). About 13% of the respondents hold a second job.

Previous studies have associated nurse overtime with medication errors and nurse injury, burnout, and job dissatisfaction. The authors of the current study, which was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, voiced concern about their findings and called on nurse managers and policymakers to take into account nurse scheduling preferences and monitor overtime to protect nurses and patients.

In addition, nurses can take steps protect their own health and well-being. The American Nurse Today Wellness 101 series provides insights and tips for enhancing the nine dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, financial, intellectual, career, social, creative, environmental, and spiritual.

Source: US News & World Report

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