Does working more hours impact the quality of work done by nurses?
Working overtime has adverse effects on one’s health. This is general knowledge. Today in the workplace, the emphasis put on a work-life balance is very important and echoed repeatedly. But is it ever respected?
Does Working Overtime impact the quality of work?
Many employees still work overtime either to make more money or at the demand of their employer to the detriment of their health. It is no surprise factor that, in some societies, the pressure in the workplace is so high that often employees use self-medication and alcohol to manage stress. Making them addicts with both vices: drugs and alcohol. In some serious cases, the pressure and stress from a job have led several hundred to commit suicide. The numbers were highest in Japan.
This society is now forcing its employees to take leave and vacation days seriously. However, it is not all employers who are keen on managing stress among employees or looking out for their wellbeing. In a capitalist society, it is often every man for himself. Thus, the companies try and milk every resource they have, their employees included. Having identified the problem of overworking to poor health, especially with no additional benefits like bonus pay or medical insurance among others; employees get demoralized by their working conditions.
Opting to leave most of the time. In situations where they feel trapped due to circumstances, they tend to take on that stress alone. To detrimental or even fatal effects. This kind of situation affects every employed individual. All employees have the right to work benefits, a minimum wage and time off. Nurses are also affected. Since their work requires being on your feet most of the time and giving help not just physically but also emotionally, they need sufficient rest. To recharge and get back on their shift with enough energy and compassion to serve others.
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Forcing nurses and doctors to work overtime is unfair. Given that they work in a delicate profession, their services are important necessary. More than that, working longer hours (irrespective of the money) can lead to workplace injuries. For a nurse, an injury means every day until she gets better, she will not be able to attend to someone ill or help save a life. Overtime hours qualifies as anything more than 12 hours consecutively. For nurses, working for 12 hours, three days in a row is not recommended and often leads to burn out.
In addition, working overtime regularly increases your chances of getting a chronic illness later in life. These are diseases such as arthritis, lung and heart disease (especially for industrial workers), in some cases cancer and diabetes as well. Thee health effects are cumulative in nature, and show up especially around retirement age, or as you get older. Therefore, working long hours for long periods of time is a part of your daily life, then your health is bound to suffer.
The problem with working overtime for longer periods of time off (as nurses like to do), means that your time off is spent catering to the adverse effects of overworking. Sometimes, it can mean no rest at all when your off days are packed with errands and no downtime. Psychologically, your mental health also suffers. Taking a few breaks to focus on your own wellbeing can lead to high levels of stress and depression. It correlates to your overall quality of work and performance.
Tired workers often make mistakes because of exhaustion. Nurses may confuse drugs being administered, or confuse patient histories, instructions given etc. Mistakes made in the hospital can be lethal. There is no ignoring one’s own health when it leads to adverse effects for another person. Therefore, the rest is to be taken as seriously as work. Our bodies need to recuperate after a day’s work. We need to refresh our minds and start the day with the kind of energy and attitude that makes a productive day.