Switch to 8 Hour Shifts for Nurses

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Nurses currently work 12 hour shifts. This does not include time they are expected to stay late and come in early unpaid. Nurses are a high in demand job in Canada and Ontario, with jobs that are themselves demanding of nurses.

Nursing has a high turnover rate, with many nurses leaving the profession within the first five years. This has at least part to do with the high stress of the job leading to something called burnout. Burnout is a phenomenon in which high stress gradually overwhelms a worker and they withdraw emotionally from the situation.

12 hour shifts are shown to contribute to high stress for nurses, in addition to multiple negative health outcomes for patients. When nurses work less hours, from 8-10 hours, patient outcomes improve in addition to stress being reduced for patients.

In a constantly changing political and economical landscape, it is essential that nurses be retained in the profession and in Canada, as it is expected that the burden on the Canadian health care system to increase as a large portion of Canadians age. Reducing stress and burnout is one step in the complex problem of retaining nurses and keeping the Canadian health care system functional.