To some nurses, the night shifts are something they hate and that they in no way like seeing on the duty roster. The thought of leaving the comfort of your home makes one sad. But what are you able to do? That is the job we have chosen. As long as you remain a nurse night shifts are unavoidable.
To others, night shifts are like winning a lottery. Going for 4 days and getting 3 days off and sometimes seven days night duty and seven days off seems a good deal.
Sometimes you may get all the weekends off. Some nurses even go to the extent of requesting a month of night shift and a month off. But what is the risk?
A study conducted on a total of 115,535 women (nurses) shows about 9% of them developed heart diseases over the period of 24 years follow-up. Women who work at least three-night shifts in a month were found to be 27% more likely to develop heart disease than those who did not.
The study also indicated that women working night shifts for longer periods of time were at the higher end of the risk spectrum than those with less experience. Women working night shifts for ten or more years had a 13–27% greater risk for heart disease than those with no night shifts, while women with less than five years of night shift experience had up to 10% increased risk.
The good news was that the risk of increased heart disease reduces over time once nurses stop working night shifts.