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The University of Southampton

Nursing Standard and Southampton launch survey on working patterns for nursing staff

Published: 10 November 2020

The UK’s most widely-read nursing journal and the University of Southampton have launched a survey about working patterns for nursing staff to better understand the issues involved.

The Nursing Standard -University of Southampton survey aims to gather data on nurses’ preferences on shift lengths, as well as the challenges related to making decisions about shift patterns. Leading nursing workforce researchers from the University’s School of Health Sciences will evaluate the data and use it to inform their research.

Questions in the survey include:

  • What length of shifts do you usually work, in your main job?
  • How many hours do you work in a typical week, including overtime?
  • What would be your preferred shift length?

Professor Jane Ball , Deputy Head (Research and Enterprise) for Southampton’s School of Health has made a short video to encourage nursing staff to get involved in the research.

Lecturer in Nursing Workforce, Dr Chiara Dall’Ora says: “While our research, and that of others, has highlighted the negative effects of long shifts, there are still uncertainties when it comes to personal preference.

“We know that some nurses like long shifts, but we don’t know the nuances and complexities behind such preferences yet,” she continues.

“In 2020, Nurses have been under additional strains due to COVID-19, and that there is evidence that healthcare systems around the world have implemented unsafe shift patterns for nurses without considering the consequences,” says Dr Dall’Ora who recently published a paper in the International Journal of Nursing on Shift work in nursing: closing the knowledge gaps and advancing innovation in practice wrote on the subject.

“Our work here at Southampton, to find what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to shift patterns, aims to ensure that the fundamental contribution of nurses, celebrated worldwide during this current International Year of the Nurse, is recognised beyond the public recognition of nurses as ‘heroes’,” she concludes.  “At the core of our work is really to ensure nurses work in the best conditions to provide the best care to their patients.

Professor Ball says: “Through this research we hope to better understand nurses’ preferences, but also some of the challenges in decisions about shift patterns. We hope nurses will take part in this survey to help us explore these issues.”

The survey is open to all registered nurses, healthcare assistants and nursing associates in the UK, and closes at 5pm on Tuesday 1 December.

Share your experiences in the Nursing Standard-Univeristy of Southampton survey.

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