Nurse Fatigue and Decision Regret

4220 Words17 Pages
Patient Safety - Twelve Hour Shifts and Nursing Fatigue
Rashelle Nielsen
Northern Arizona University


Nurses have tremendous responsibilities and demands placed upon them. Caring for people in a critical care setting requires the nurse to be able to think critically and decisively. They need to be capable of assessing subtle changes in a patient’s status and be able to effectively interpret those changes in order to make those decisions that will positively impact the patient’s outcome. There is a debate as to whether twelve hour shifts are in the best interest of the patient, despite the convenience of scheduling and the popularity among nurses. The impact of sleep deprivation and fatigue among nurses has been widely studied. This study is developed to determine if fatigue from twelve hour shifts impedes nurses’ abilities to think critically and make safe decisions regarding patient care. Keywords: cognitive capacity, inter-shift recovery, fatigue management, decision regret, critical thinking, situational awareness, continuity of care
Patient Safety - Twelve Hour Shifts and Nursing Fatigue
Nurses faces many challenges in their profession. They are responsible for not only carrying out physicians’ orders, but are expected to make rapid decisions that are critical to the well-being and sometimes the survival of their patients. These decisions are based on training, education, information available in the moment, i.e., vital signs, lab results and patient symptoms, as well as the nurse’s physical and psychological state. A nurse that is well-rested will be more effectively able to think critically and interpret important information than a nurse who has come on shift after not receiving adequate sleep. Cognitive capacity, or the ability to think clearly and recall important information and implement it effectively, is greatly inhibited
Open Document