Module 1. Introduction - NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Health care is a 24 hours per day, 7 days a week industry. Nurses have shift work schedules to provide services around-the-clock. They sometimes work long hours, such as 12-hour shifts, as part of a compressed schedule. (You can hold your cursor over the terms in blue text to see their definitions.)

In this training, you can receive scientific information about the risks of shift work and long work hours as well as strategies for both staff nurses and nurse managers to reduce these risks. Please begin the training with the 7.5 minute video below to hear testimonials from real nurses who were willing to share their experiences. At the time of the interviews, three of the nurses worked night shifts permanently or frequently, and one nurse worked 12-hour day shifts.

Shift work is any schedule outside of the period of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.1

Long work hours are any shift greater than 8.5 hours, or a work week greater than 40 hours. Shift overruns, whether paid or unpaid, contribute to long work hours.

A compressed schedule involves working 36-40 hours per week in fewer than 5 days.