The Dangers Of Nurse Fatigue

2104 Words Nov 14th, 2014 9 Pages
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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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 nursing license because of the increased risk of medical errors, also the risk of work related injuries and post shift motor vehicle accident increases (Campbell, 2011). According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, working extended shifts and overtime has adverse effects on the health of the worker, the extended hours have been associated with musculoskeletal injuries, development of hypertension, and higher risk of injuries, etc. Nurse fatigue eventually leads to nurse burnout and many nurses end up leaving the profession because they are not able to balance work and
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