Fatigue Shift work Health care/social assistance

Nurses association asks employers to help reduce shift work fatigue


Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Silver Spring, MD – Nurses and their employers need “a stronger collaboration” to help diminish the risks of fatigue related to shift work and long hours, the American Nurses Association recently announced in a revised position statement.

A panel of 15 ANA member nurses created the position statement, which notes that research has connected shift work and long hours to various health conditions, including obesity, diabetes and cancer.

ANA recommends the following:

  • Involve nurses in creating work schedules. Use a regular, predictable schedule so nurses can plan for work and personal responsibilities.
  • Limit work weeks to 40 hours and shifts to 12 hours.
  • Eliminate mandatory overtime.
  • Encourage frequent rest breaks.
  • Enforce a policy that allows nurses to reject a work assignment to prevent risks from fatigue. A rejected assignment should not constitute patient abandonment, and nurses should not suffer negative consequences.
  • Encourage nurses to maintain their health, including sleeping at least seven hours each day; managing stress, nutrition and exercise; and taking naps.