Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
Everyone who has worked as a nurse has worked shifts, including night shifts. There seems to be no way out of shifts and nothing is perfect. Either you do very long exhausting stints or many short ones, some very early, some very late...and then those nights. Some people love them, some people hate them. I hated them - yet I did them permanently for a while.
So what does this do to nurses? That was the focus of a study from Australia by Tahghighi et al. (2017) titled: 'What is the impact of shift work on the psychological functioning and resilience of nurses? An integrative review' and published in JAN which aimed to: 'synthesize existing research to determine if nurses who work shifts have poorer psychological functioning and resilience than nurses who do not work shifts.' This was a systematic review and 37 articles were reviewed.
The outcome was inconclusive and much more work is needed with better designed studies. The authors concluded: 'The majority of studies were correlational comparing different patterns of shift work schedules and utilized inconsistent outcome measures. Based on the current evidence, we cannot definitively conclude that nurses who work shifts have poorer psychological functioning than those who do not. Instead, the current evidence suggests that for some nurses, shift work is associated with negative psychological outcomes and these outcomes appear highly dependent on contextual and individual factors.
You can listen tom this as a podcast
TAHGHIGHI M., REES C.S., BROWN J.A., BREEN L.J. & HEGNEY D. (2017) What is the impact of shift work on the psychological functioning and resilience of nurses? An integrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.13283