A comparison of scheduling, work hours, overtime, and work preferences across four cohorts of newly licensed Registered Nurses

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Abstract

Aims: To conduct a comparative analysis of four cohorts of newly licensed Registered Nurses and their work schedule, daily shift length, weekly work hours, second job, and weekly overtime hours. Nurses also reported their preferences regarding work schedule and daily shift length. Design: We used a retrospective, comparative design analysing four cross-sectional surveys from new nurses first licensed between 2004–2015. Methods: Using state licensure lists, nurses who were first licensed between 1 August 2004 and 31 July 2005 were randomly sampled using a nested design in 23 geographical areas in 13 states and Washington, DC. The same sampling strategy was conducted for subsequent cohorts in January 2009, 2012, and 2016. We sent a mailed survey measuring demographics, education, work attributes, and attitudes to participants with a $5 incentive, following methods by Dillman. Results: There were no statistically significant differences in average weekly work hours (39.4 hrs) or holding more than one job for pay (11.6–14.6% across all cohorts). There were statistically significant differences in overtime across cohorts and shift length by unit type. The preferred shift length was 12 hrs and day shift was the preferred work schedule. Conclusion: New nurses are predominantly scheduled for 12-hrs shifts and nearly half work weekly overtime, trends that have remained relatively stable over the past 10 years. Nurse managers, policy-makers, and researchers should pay attention to new nurses’ schedule and shift preferences and guard against mandatory overtime hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Registered Nurses
  • staffing and scheduling
  • work schedule
  • work schedule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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