Introduction Given the shortage of critical care nurses, emphasis has been placed upon improving their working lives through the implementation of flexible work hours.
Method This descriptive exploratory study evaluated the effects of the implementation of the 12-hour roster in a regional intensive care unit (ICU). Staff (n = 19) completed a survey 12 weeks following the implementation of the 12-hour roster.
Results The study demonstrated widespread acceptance (92%) positive impact on physical and psychological well-being and increased work satisfaction (58%) for the nursing participants. Similarly, nurses working both the 8- and 12-hour rosters (75%), the doctors and allied health care workers all identified increased continuity of patient care as an outcome of the 12-hour shift. Participants strongly agreed that 12-hour rostering was a good recruitment (67%) and retention (75%) strategy.
Conclusion In an environment with considerable shortages of experienced critical care nurses, the use of flexible shift patterns such as the 12-hour roster was a positive recruitment and recruitment strategy.