The Dangers Of Nurse Fatigue

Decent Essays
Fatigue is defined as a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy (Philips, 2013). Fatigue is a subjective feeling and has been described by people as “feeling tired all the time” and “feeling weak” and it can be influenced by physiological, psychological, behavioral, and environmental factors (Campbell, 2011). Nurse fatigue is an issue that has been a major concern for patient safety and the wellbeing of nurses. Nurse fatigue can be attributed to working 12-hour shifts, working night shifts, working several back-to-back shifts and working overtime (Rogers, 2008). This paper will investigate and analyze the dangers of nurse fatigue and will explore strategies for implementing changes to reduce nurse fatigue.
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Fatigue and sleepiness, tendency to fall asleep, go hand in hand as nurses struggle to stay awake during long, consecutive, day or night shifts. For example, in the Staff Nurse Fatigue and Patient Safety Study, the number of nurses who reported an error or a near miss had less hours of sleep than the nurses who did not report an error or a near miss, and it was determined that there is a 3.4 percent chance of a nursing error when nurses get 6 hours of sleep or less in the prior 24 hours; another study found that the chances of making an error was three times higher when nurses worked more than 12.5 hours per shift (Rogers, 2008). In the Staff Nurse Fatigue and Patient Safety Study, over two thirds of the participants reported that they struggle to stay awake while working and 20 percent reported incidence of falling asleep during their shift (Rogers, 2008). Nurses also do not get adequate breaks while working long shifts, according to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) less than 50% of work breaks for are away from patient care, which means nurses never truly get a chance to relax (Phillips, 2014). Not only is the patient safety at risk when nurses are fatigued, but the well being of nurses is at stake as well. While nurses are fatigued they are risking their
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