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    • Abstract:
      Faced with recurring staffing problems, nurses in our small (250 admissions in 1976) but expanding unit voluntarily changed from three 8-hour to two 12-hour shifts per day in late June 1976. A questionaire using a seven point scale was administered four months later. Twenty-eight out of thirty (28/30) staff nurses responded. Continuity of patient care (25/28) and familiarity with families (19/28) were considered important benefits of the new schedule. Physician concerns, plans, and diagnosis were thought to be transmitted better (20/28) from one shift to the next. However, (16/28) nurses felt they lost contact with patients who had short stays in the nursery. Scheduling of holidays (18/28), vacation (17/28), and workdays (23/28) was generally thought to be improved. Changing from days to nights was thought to be improved by (4/25), unaffected by (13/25), and made more difficult by (8/25).The nursing staff felt that the rate of patient care error was unaffected by the new schedule (20/28), but there was thought to be a significant improvement in transcribing orders (20/28). Sign-off from one shift to the next was considered improved by (25/28). Finally, personal performance was assessed to be no different (13/28), or actually improved (15/28) by the new schedule. The results of this study indicate support for the 12-hour day. Additional evaluations including physician assessment, job performance and clinical outcome continue.