Evaluation of an open-rota system in a Danish psychiatric hospital: a mechanism for improving job satisfaction and work–life balance

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Abstract

Aims

To evaluate the impact of an open-rota scheduling system on the health, work-life balance and job satisfaction of nurses working in a psychiatric ward in Denmark.

Background

The effects of shift rotation and scheduling are well known; however, little is known about the wider benefits of open-rota systems.

Method

A structured questionnaire was distributed to control and intervention groups preintervention and postintervention (20 months). Nurses within the intervention group trialed an open-rota system in which nurses designed their own work–rest schedules.

Results

Nurses in the intervention group reported that they were more satisfied with their work hours, less likely to swap their shift when working within the open-rota system and reported significant increases in work–life balance, job satisfaction, social support and community spirit when compared with nurses in the control groups.

Conclusions

The ownership and choice over work–rest schedules has benefits for nurses, and potentially the hospital.

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