Professional collaboration is an important aspect for patient safety and quality care. Numerous studies show that when nurses collaborate with other healthcare professionals, patients receive high-valued care and improved outcomes in hospitals.

But how can we achieve this “improved outcome” when nurses, the front liner of healthcare, are already worn-out in integrating a collaborative connection with their co-professionals?

A new study conducted by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing discovered, that one-third of nurses work longer than scheduled, resulting to decrease in collaboration.

Nurses work for long hours and are already expected to work overtime, openly leading them to risk of work induced fatigue that could affect to emotional, social, and psychological function.

The situation is clearly mirrored in another study published by the Journal of Nursing Administration, which assessed how shift interval and overtime affect nurses’ perceptions of collaboration with other care providers, most especially with other nurses and physicians.

“Our research suggests that the more overtime hours nurses work, resulting in extended periods of wakefulness, the greater difficulty they have in collaborating effectively,” Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, PhD, RN, assistant professor at NYU Meyers and the study’s coauthor, said in a news release.

The researchers used 2013 survey data from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI), and analyzed responses from 24,013 nurses in 957 units from 168 U.S. hospitals. Collaboration is measured through the use of nurse-nurse interaction scale, and nurse-physician interaction scale. While for shift patterns, it is measured by average overtime, average shift length, and the proportion of nurses on a unit who worked overtime.

Among the study’s findings are:

  • the average shift length was 11.88 hours across five types of nursing units
  • 12-hour shifts appear to be the predominant shift schedule for hospital nurses
  • Average nurses work 24 minutes longer than their scheduled shift
  • 33% of nurses on a unit reported they are working longer than initially scheduled
  • 35% of nurses said that the amount of overtime needed from nurses on their unit increased over the past year


Further, the researchers did not find a substantial connection between average shift interval and collaboration, which means, longer scheduled shifts does not necessarily lead to less collaboration. But, collaboration still appeared to suffer in nursing units with extended overtime shifts and more nurses working overtime.

As with the study’s recommendation, the researchers advise nurses, nurse managers, and hospital administrators to use overtime as irregularly as possible. They must also offer fatigue management training and education, including, other trainings which can help nurses and physicians to socialize more effectively and politely.


Erudite Nursing Institute® raises the standard for more professional nurses capable to converse effectively with other medical professionals to achieve superior health care standards. As with long working hours, the institute hopes for a more efficient way of designating shift lengths so that nurses in return can do their honorable job excellently.









Note: The foregoing article is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in part or entirety without advance written permission. For permissions or editorial corrections, contact: Ms. Kelsey Hanna, khanna@EruditeNursing.education

Leave a Reply