J Korean Clin Nurs Res.  2021 Aug;27(2):165-178. 10.22650/JKCNR.2021.27.2.165.

Analysis of the Status of Nursing Shifts and Nurses’ Perceptions of Work Schedules in General Wards Based on the Government Guidelines for Night Shift Work

  • 1Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, Semyung University, Jecheon, korea
  • 2Professor, College of Nursing Research Institute of Nursing Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, korea
  • 3Director, Department of Nursing, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, korea


To analyze nurses’ shift work according to the government guidelines for night work and their perceptions of their work schedules.
The study sample included 487 nurses who provided information on their schedules, including the normal working hours of each shift, and overtime per shift during September 2020. Nurses’ perceptions were measured in terms of satisfaction, appropriateness for work-life balance, and fairness to their work schedule.
One-third of the respondents worked more than 40 hours per week. The average overtime hour was 1.14 hours per shift. Unsocial hours (8 pm to 6 am on weekdays, midnight to midnight on weekends and public holidays) accounted for 56.4% of all working hours. During their last night shift, on average, nurses worked 9.62 hours and had a break of 39 minutes, although 20.5% reported no break. Sixty-eight percent of nurses had at least one between-shift break shorter than 48 hours after a consecutive night shifts. Fifty-seven percent were satisfied with their schedule. One-third perceived their schedule as appropriate for work-life balance, and two-thirds perceived that days off on weekends and nights were fairly distributed within the unit. Working and overtime hours had an inverse relationship with all three aspects of nurses’ perceptions. A higher proportion of unsocial hours and having no breaks during the night shift were associated with lower perceptions of fairness.
Reducing working hours, ensuring breaks during night shifts, and increasing rewards for unsocial hours are required to improve nurses’ perceptions and reduce turnover due to shift work.


Guideline; Night Shift; Nurse; Unsocial Hours; Work Schedule
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