1. Cochran, Karen R. PhD(c), MSN, RN, CNOR


OBJECTIVE: To examine self-perceived fatigue among nurses and to quantify levels of fatigue and the ability to recover from fatigue between worked shifts across various work characteristics.


BACKGROUND: Fatigue is associated with working long hours, disruption of sleep, and inadequate time to recover between shifts. Fatigue degrades the nurses' performance leading to poorer patient outcomes and increased occupational injuries.


METHODS: This quantitative study surveyed 573 nurses across 5 hospitals in the southeastern United States.


RESULTS: Significant levels of acute fatigue were associated with working labor and delivery and medical-surgical units and working a 12-hour shift. Nurses working night shift and on the behavioral health unit showed a significantly lower ability to recover between worked shifts.


CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue threatens safety and the quality of patient care. Leaders should ensure that nurses take duty-free breaks and schedule adequate time off to recover between worked shifts.