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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 November 6 - 12  > Hospitals using two-shift work system hit record high
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2013 November 6 - 12 [LABOR]

Hospitals using two-shift work system hit record high

November 12, 2013
The percentage of hospitals using a two-shift work system or having their nurses work on night duty for over eight hours hit a record high of 29.4%, up from 28.0% last year, the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Iroren) on November 11 revealed.

Of the hospitals operating under the two-shift system, 59.4% have their nursing staff work for more than 16 hours in a single night shift duty. The ratio rose from 52.5% in the previous year, according to the result of a survey by Iroren.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in its guideline set upper limits to the number of night shifts a nurse works in a month; nurses under the three-shift system should not work night shifts more than 8 times a month, and the two-shift nursing workers should not have night work more than 4.5 times a month. However, 25.2% of the three-shift staff worked the late shift 9 times a month or more, and 34.7% of two-shift workers had more than 4.5 times of such duty, the Iroren survey result showed.

Iroren Chair Yamada Mamiko at a news conference on November 11 pointed out that as advances in medical technology make it possible to provide more treatments at night, the need is to increase the number of medical staff. “In order to ensure safe medical treatment, the working conditions of medical workers should be improved,” she stressed.

Nakano Chikako, the Iroren general secretary, said that the number of nurses specializing in night duties is increasing. “You cannot grow accustomed to night duty. Working too many night shifts will raise the risk of making mistakes,” she added.

Iroren conducted this annual survey on 114,210 nursing staff in 447 medical facilities around the country.
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