According to researchers at the University of Maryland, the length of a nurse's shift has a big effect on the health of the patients they treat.
The study found that patient deaths from pneumonia and acute myocardial infarction were significantly more likely in hospitals where nurses reported working long shifts.
The authors cite the 12-hour work shift model, which is employed by the vast majority of American hospitals, as contributing to sleep deprivation, health problems and a greater likelihood of errors when treating patients.
The increasingly common 12-hour nursing shift may be having a detrimental effect on the health of nurses.
New research published in the Journal of Nursing Administration suggests that nurses who work long hours or perform shift work are more likely to be obese.
These findings come on the heels of similar studies linking long shift work to increased patient mortality rates (see below) and should prompt increased efforts to identify ways to mitigate potential negative effects of 12- hour shifts.