Although nursing shifts have increased from 8 to 12 hours, few studies have examined the effects of this on nurses’ completion of vital procedures. Calhoun and colleagues conducted a study using a simulated environment to test if nurse completion rate and accuracy of key tasks would deteriorate over a 12-hour shift. Twenty-eight pediatric intensive care unit nurses performed 3 simulated assessments conducted at start of the shift, 6 hours into the shift, and immediately after the 12-hour shift. They found the following:

  • Improved completion rate of tasks from start to end of shift.

  • No deterioration in task accuracy over the shift.

  • Nurses with less than 2.5 years of experience took longer to complete the preshift tasks than more experienced nurses.

The authors noted the tasks in this study were simpler and more rote in nature than tasks studied in other research that found...

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