Effects of night shift schedules on nurses working in a private hospital in South Africa

University essay from Luleå/Human Work Sciences

Abstract: The research was conducted in two private hospitals in South Africa. The
main domain of this research is to identify effects of night shift schedules
on health and psychosocial aspects of nurses working in private hospitals.
The aim is to evaluate the extent of physiological and psychosocial hazards
imposed on nurses by shift-work. Presently most of South African nurses,
working in hospitals are assigned to work a 12-hour shift, be it day or
night shift. The assumption is that ergonomically designed shift schedules
will reduce the effects of exposure to long hours of night shift.

The two hospitals were targeted to gather more organizational information
regarding night shift because they have similar administrative processes.
Two groups of nurses were involved in the study, those working on day shift
and those on night shift. Day shift nurses were included as a group that is
also assigned to work on night shift when their turn comes, working as
rotational staff for a certain period. Thirty-eight nurses participated as
respondents to a questionnaire and 26 nurses participated as a focus group.

The results of this study reveal that night shift cause psychosocial strain
and physiological strain to nurses, especially those working a quick
rotation. Nurses expressed more complaints about night shift as compared to
day shift. Few nurses prefer to work on the night shift. The majority of
those prefer night shift due to social problems such as transport.