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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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Effects of Long Working Hours on Nurses (Essay Sample)


The instruction was to write a 3-page argumentative essay on whether nurses should work more hours and its effect on the quality of services they provide. The formatting requirement was to use APA 7 format and five sources (3 journals and two books). In addition, the sandwich rule of writing was required. The assignment was to be double spaced, with no spaces between paragraphs of the same style.


Effects of Long Working Hours on Nurses
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Effects of Long Working Hours on Nurses
Nursing is the backbone of healthcare and a vital part of proper patient management for the best treatment outcomes. Nurses should exhibit competency and offer quality input in their line of duty to avoid medical and medication errors that can be fatal. To achieve this, hospitals should have adequate staffing for nurses to practice for fewer hours a day to safely and adequately meet the desired quality of service. Thus, the total staffing required should derive a basis on the sum of individual patient requirements. Most hospitals have eliminated 12-hour shifts, leading to a significant reduction in nurses' burnout, which ultimately translates to maximal resourcefulness and productivity. Ideally, nurses should not work more hours since this affects the quality of service provided by negatively impacting their mental health, impairing response to emergencies, causing medication errors, and predisposing nurses to hazards and infections.
First, nurses should not work more hours per shift as it affects their mental health due to psychosocial pressure, leading to reduced quality of life. A research study, which sampled 477 nurses from Turkey, revealed that 87% of them confirmed developing mental health issues after consecutively working longer shifts (Okuyan & Deveci, 2017). These were people experiencing marital and family pressures, which resulted in psychosocial imbalances, coupled with work-related stressors. Such psychosocial problems, in turn, affect service delivery by reducing enthusiasm and professionalism. Furthermore, working longer hours restricts the social lives of nurses that ultimately causes antisocial behavior. However, nurses are instrumental in helping patients deal with their health problems and psychosocial traumas (Waddill-Goad, 2016). As such, nurses equally need the mental health services they offer to psychiatric patients to eliminate the chances of suffering a mental breakdown that can hinder proper nursing care in hospitals. Nurses should not work for longer durations, and their shifts should generally be limited to eight hours a day since the quality of services they render becomes compromised due to low mental status.
Moreover, longer shifts usually generate lethargy that impairs response to emergencies and patients' needs. A research study by Thompson (2019) elucidates that longer shifts reduce reaction time and attention among nurses through diminished muscular function. As a result, the nurses' response to patients' bedside needs and emergency settings reduce markedly, compromising the quality of care. Besides, proper patient management arises from exceptional nursing care achievable by healthy nurses (Todaro-Franceschi, 2019). Urgent and exemplary nursing care forms part of quality assessment regarding treatment outcomes. Repetitive strain injuries during longer shifts on consecutive days can incapacitate nurses expected to work in emergency care; hence, there is a need to regulate the hours worked per shift.
Consequently, the regulation of longer shifts will reduce avoidable medication errors that can be detrimental to patients' lives. Overtime shifts among nurses were closely associated with increased medication errors, patient injuries, and adverse nursing outcomes (Son et al., 2019). The occurrences reduced the overall quality of service provided by the nurses and could easily result in mortality. In recent years, statistics related to medical errors occasioned by fatigued nurses have increased significantly. Approximately 400,000 deaths and four million adverse events resulting from drug administration mistakes are reported annually (Thompson, 2019). These unexpected outcomes directly link to longer shift hours among registered nurses. It is, therefore, proper for hospitals to limit the duration of nurses' shifts to improve the quality of services, pharmacotherapy, and patients' lives.
Finally, working more hours within hospital settings predispose nurses to hospital hazards and hospital-acquired infections. Overly extended hours at work translate to low sleep quality that generates potential risks like accidental needle pricks due to burnout (Son et al., 2019). Such hazards cause dissatisfaction among nurses that hinder their diligent service delivery. Likewise, other hospital hazards like slips when moving patients or handling biomedical equipment can prove life-threatening. A study by Okuyan and Deveci (2017) highlights that 95.2% of nurses reported the negative impact of long working hours on their health status. Increased contact time with patients significantly raises t

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