Friday, January 22, 2021
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After the pandemic considerations

Education   Mentor / Mentee   Practice Operations  Staffing Grids

Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes

Making changes to your career and workplace may sound daunting during a pandemic, but that’s why we’re providing information that will help you make informed decisions—whether you’re considering getting your doctorate, mentoring a younger colleague, or changing the length of your department’s shifts.

Plus, there’s always something to make you smile.


What to look for in a PhD program

Have you found yourself daydreaming about getting your doctorate? If so, an Evidence-Based Nursing paper suggests looking for the following in a PhD program:

  • A good supervisory and support team. You want a group that will provide experienced guidance, mentorship, and academic support with regular meetings and timely feedback on written submissions; assist you in developing a peer network; and help you access research communities related to your field.
  • An environment that promotes personal and professional development. This should be complemented by positive peer interactions.
  • A conceptual framework that includes philosophical and methodological models. This gives clarity to the approach, structure, and vision of study so you’re able to make an original contribution to knowledge.

Support novice nurses during the pandemic

Moral distress is the conflict between what you want to do for your patients and what you can do for them–and the pandemic is burying healthcare professionals in it. For those just starting their career, they have no experience to draw upon and may need more direction to help ground them. These extreme circumstances are unlike anything they experienced in nursing school. 

As a result, Kathleen M. Horan and Kimberly Dimino in the American Journal of Nursing suggest that new professionals may need more individual attention than in years prior. So, when you’re able to, here are a few ways to lend your support to their mental and professional health (while still trying to maintain your own):

  • Commend them for their work.
  • Help them reflect on their experiences and referring them to available resources.
  • Encourage them to meet, either in person or virtually, with other novice nurses.

By engaging new nurses in these ways, we show them that they are valuable and contribute to their development as the future workforce. The bonus: these interactions could also help you survive these difficult shifts too.

The effects of the 12-hour shift

Pre-pandemic, a Normandy hospital implemented 12-hour shifts in their medical and surgical ICUS. Researchers decided to evaluate how the change to 12-hour shifts (from 8 hours) impacted the health, working conditions, and satisfaction of the staff. By surveying 116 nurses and healthcare professionals before and after the implementation of the new shifts, they found how the shifts affected:

  • Health: There was no significant change in health of the workers between the shorter and longer shifts.
  • Work schedule satisfaction: Prior to the implementation of the 12-hour shift, night workers were significantly more satisfied with their work schedules than day workers, but after eight months of the 12-hour shift, the situation reversed: day workers were significantly more satisfied.
  • Handovers: Both groups of workers expressed dissatisfaction with handovers (where previously they both had been satisfied), with night workers expressing even more dissatisfaction. Why the clear decrease in handover-quality satisfaction? Caregivers said it was because the overlap times between teams disappeared and no longer allowed for the oral exchange of information; it was provided in writing.
  • Time pressure: Perception of time pressure decreased significantly with the implementation of the 12‐hour work schedule exclusively in day workers. Caregivers explained that the 12‐hour shifts increased the ability to plan and allocate their tasks.

Researchers concluded that these long shifts should not be considered for all hospital departments (due to the disproportionate negative impact on night staff). Therefore long shifts should only be reserved for situations where no other organization of working time is possible to ensure continuity of care.



The percentage of NPs indicating that their practices are better able to deal with Covid-19 now than at the beginning of the pandemic, according to the AANP’s second Covid-19 Nurse Practitioner Impact Survey.


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