1. Smith-Miller, Cheryl A. PhD, RN-BC
  2. Shaw-Kokot, Julia MSLS, RN
  3. Curro, Brooke BNS, RN
  4. Jones, Cheryl B. PhD, RN, FAAN


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine current research related to nurse fatigue and identify effective prevention strategies.


BACKGROUND: Work-related fatigue negatively affects patient safety and nurses' well-being and increases employer costs. Preventing fatigue and minimizing its negative consequences require knowledge of the contributing factors if effective interventions are to be designed and implemented.


METHODS: This review targeted original research (2002-2013) examining fatigue among nurses working in acute care settings.


RESULTS: Nurses experience high rates of fatigue. Shifts longer than 12 hours contribute to increased fatigue and errors, but the evidence was inconsistent with regard to age and fatigue level. Individual lifestyle, unit culture, and organization policies influence the prevalence and intensity of work-related fatigue.


CONCLUSIONS: Preventing work-related fatigue requires multifaceted approaches involving the organization, the clinical unit, and the individual.