Fatigue Essay

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Fatigue is a concept that is important to the nursing profession because it can affect the level of nursing care provided to patients. The word fatigue has several definitions and meanings, which is determined by ones’ perception of the word. For example, an army soldier may define fatigue as a military uniform worn for the purpose of camouflaging (Lucas, 2007). Other definitions include exhaustion (mentally and physically), lack of sleep, loss of energy, and sleep deprivation. This paper will explore different meanings of the word fatigue, and describe how they relate to the nursing profession.
Muecke (2005, p. 435) describes fatigue as “a function of the amount of sleep obtained and the time of day when it is received.” This definition can be related to the nursing profession because some nurses work during the night and do not get enough sleep during the day, due to the body’s normal circadian rhythm. According to Muecke (2005, p. 438), “disrupted body rhythms caused by shiftwork lead to major physiological and psychological effects for nurses that may affect patient safety and the quality of care provided.” The word fatigue can also be used as an action, or lack of. When a person is fatigue they may become less involved in activities and have little energy to finish daily tasks or assignments (Jinbo, Kunaviktikul, Olson, Chontawan, & Kaewthummanukul, 2008). In nursing, this may lead to medication administration errors, incomplete nursing care plans, or inaccurate nursing documentation.
According to E. Samaha, Lal, Samaha, N., Wyndham (2007, p. 222), “Fatigue results in distorted perceptual skills, reasoning abilities, judgment and decision-making capabilities.” Nurses need to be able to thoroughly assess their patients and be able to determine when there is a negative change in their patient’s status. They also need to be able to act quickly

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