University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

  • Jackie Dent
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-817
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Early online date5 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2018


Midwives continue to experience high levels of work-related stress. Challenges in staffing and demands on services may contribute, but there are also indications that shift length or working practices may also be a factor, especially if midwives regularly work beyond their contracted hours or miss rest breaks. In the nursing literature, longer shifts have been associated with higher levels of fatigue, yet this has also been found in nurses working 8-hour shifts, due to the high number of consecutive shifts worked, suggesting that working practices also contribute to fatigue. Longer shifts have also been linked to poorer quality of care, yet this only appears significant when shifts exceed 12 hours. There are mixed views on job satisfaction, which may be due to personal preferences or the availability of flexible working. However, the findings of many studies are often limited by poor quality designs and cannot easily be applied to midwifery settings, where there continues to be a lack of research in this area. Further research is therefore required to understand the impact of shift length and working practices on the wellbeing of midwives and their ability to safely delivery care.


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