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Nursing Shifts

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Nursing Shifts: Draining But Rewarding

The goal of this infographic is to show what a typical nursing shift is like, how stressful it is, and why nurses stick with it anyway. Somewhat inspired by http://visual.ly/nurses-how-do-they-do-it

Nursing Shift Lengths
(http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/Healthy-Nurse/Longer-Shifts-For-Hospital-Nurses-Higher-Levels-Of-Burnout-And-Patient-Dissatisfaction.pdf pg 5)

***Main statistic is that 70% of nurses work 12+ hour shifts

  • 8-9 hr shift = 26%
  • 10-11 hr shift = 4%
  • 12-13 hr shift = 65%
  • 13+ hr shift = 5%

"Because patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities need round-the-clock care, nurses in these settings usually work in rotating shifts, covering all 24 hours. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be on call.

Nurses who work in offices, schools, and other places that do not provide 24-hour care are more likely to work regular business hours.

In 2012, about 1 out of 5 registered nurses worked part time." BLS - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-3

Quick Facts about Long Nursing Shifts
(http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/Healthy-Nurse/Longer-Shifts-For-Hospital-Nurses-Higher-Levels-Of-Burnout-And-Patient-Dissatisfaction.pdf pg 5)


  • 84.1% of ICU nurses work 12+ hour shifts
  • 74.3% of black nurses worked 12+ hour shifts, compared to 64.2% of white nurses
  • 78.4% of male nurses worked 12+ hr shifts, compared to 69.4% of female nurses
  • 71.4% of nurses with a bachelor's education or higher worked 12+ hour shifts

Impact of Long Shifts

"75% of RNs believe the nursing shortage presents a major problem for the quality of their work life, the quality of patient care, and the amount of time nurses can spend with patients." (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage)
Just pulling this from common sense…

  • Fatigue
  • Declining patient safety and care quality
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Early retirement
  • Increased work-related injuries

Patient dissatisfaction… (http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/Healthy-Nurse/Longer-Shifts-For-Hospital-Nurses-Higher-Levels-Of-Burnout-And-Patient-Dissatisfaction.pdf pg 7)

  • Poor ratings for hospitals happened most often with staff members working more than 13 hour shifts
  • Patients who would not recommend their hospital to other people most often experienced nurses with 13+ hour shifts

Flexibility in Nurse Schedules
(http://www.nursing.upenn.edu/chopr/Documents/witkoskiHospitalStaff.pdf pg 4)

Many nurses get to choose how long they work, when they work, whom they work with, etc. This happens most often with experienced nurses who have earned their places in the workforce. **This is one of the reasons people stick with nursing, despite its draining powers***

  • 70% of nurses say flexible or modified work schedules are available
  • 73% say they actively participate in developing their schedules
  • 86% are satisfied with their schedules
  • Only 54% say they are allowed to take at least a 30 minute break during a workday

Where Nurses Like to Work

(http://www.jacksonhealthcare.com/media/164537/nursestrendsreport_ebook0113_lr.pdf pg 9)

  • Hospitals: 23%
  • Outpatient/doctor's offices: 13%
  • Emergency department: 11%
  • Specialized outpatient practice: 8%
  • Hospital surgery: 6%

Where Nurses Actually Work
(http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-3)

  • Hospitals: 61%
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities: 7%
  • Doctor's Offices: 7%
  • Home Health Care Services: 6%
  • Government Agencies: 6%

What Keeps Nurses Happy in Their Careers
(http://www.jacksonhealthcare.com/media/164537/nursestrendsreport_ebook0113_lr.pdf pg 5)

Despite the harsh working conditions, 66% of nurses report being satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. Only 5% report being very dissatisfied.

  • Caring for patients, helping others, making a difference: 35%
  • Work relationships, team collaboration: 28%
  • Work/life balance: 15%
  • Autonomy: 10%
  • Compensation, benefits: 10%

Compensation Stats RN: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm

  • Mean hourly wage: $33.13
  • Mean annual wage: $68,910

LVN: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm

  • Mean hourly wage: $20.63
  • Mean annual wage: $42,910

Nurse Practitioner: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm

  • Mean hourly: $45.71
  • Mean annual: $95,070

Nursing Assistant: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes311014.htm

  • Mean hourly: $12.51
  • Mean annual: $26,020

Nurse Anesthetists: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291151.htm

  • Mean hourly: $75.81
  • Mean annual: $157,690

What Nurses Look for in a Job
(http://www.jacksonhealthcare.com/media/164537/nursestrendsreport_ebook0113_lr.pdf pg 8)

  • 56% look for work balance
  • 52% consider compensation
  • 45% look for friendly work atmosphere
  • Most nurses prefer working with physicians (43%) or nurse practitioners (40%) instead of physicians assistants (7%)

Nursing Plans for the Future
(http://www.jacksonhealthcare.com/media/164537/nursestrendsreport_ebook0113_lr.pdf pg 10)

  • 89% plan to stay in nursing
  • 5% plan to transition from full time to part time
  • 5% plan to retire or leave nursing
  • 1% will definitely retire
  • 49% plan to stick with their current role
  • 13% plan to move into a leadership position
  • 11% plan on earning a bachelor's degree in nursing
  • 10% plan on teaching nursing
  • 9% plan on moving to a nurse practitioner role

Interest Fades with Age
(http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurveys/rnsurveyinitial2008.pdf pg 13 and 14)

As registered nurses get older, they are less likely to stay in the nursing profession.

  • 88.1% of RNs under 25 are employed full time
  • 68.3% of RNs 50-54 (biggest age group) are employed full time,
    with 12.5% not employed in nursing at all
  • 65% are employed full time for 55-59
  • 21.6% are employed full time for 65-69
  • 25% are employed full time for 70 and older
  • 17% of nurses between 60-64 plan to leave nursing within 3 years

Impact of Retirement
(http://www.jacksonhealthcare.com/media/164537/nursestrendsreport_ebook0113_lr.pdf pg 11)

"According to respondent feedback, the first significant wave of nurse retirements will occur in the next ten years, around 2022. This retirement-driven attrition will continue to impact the nurse workforce through 2032"