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Fatigue-related impairments in the nursing workforce contribute to a multitude of health, safety, and economic consequences at the individual, organizational and societal levels. Long and compressed work schedules are commonly worked in the healthcare industry, but more research is needed to understand the cumulative effects of multiple work shifts on physiology-based performance outcomes in nurses. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a single nursing work shift versus three compressed (one every 24 hours) 12 hour shifts on performance-based fatigue in nurses and aides. Twenty-six fulltime hospital working nurses and aides (age = 36.1 ± 13.3 years) reported to the lab for testing before, immediately after working a single 12 hour shift, and after working three 12 hour shifts in a 72 hour period. Outcome measures included vigilance-based reaction time, lapses of attention, and muscle function assessments (lower and upper body muscle strength, explosive strength and vertical jump performance). All variables except hand grip strength showed a significant decline following the three work shifts. The psychomotor vigilance reaction time and lapses of attention variables also generally showed a significant decline from the end of shift one to the end of shift three, indicting an accumulation of fatigue in these metrics with increasing number of shifts worked. Muscle function variables responded early in the duty cycle, showing a significant decline after a single work shift, but did no further decline by the end of the third shift. These findings use objective measures to substantiate that fatigue impairments occur from working a single 12 hour shift, and in several instances, increase further with more successive work shifts. Caution should be employed by personnel and administrators with work schedules involving multiple compressed 12 hour shifts. Fatigue management strategies may be used to improve risks and consequences from fatigue-related mishaps, and this study reports several variables that appear sensitive to identifying and tracking fatigue in this population.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli.
A state arrived at through prolonged and strong contraction of a muscle. Studies in athletes during prolonged submaximal exercise have shown that muscle fatigue increases in almost direct proportion to the rate of muscle glycogen depletion. Muscle fatigue in short-term maximal exercise is associated with oxygen lack and an increased level of blood and muscle lactic acid, and an accompanying increase in hydrogen-ion concentration in the exercised muscle.
Air that is reduced in volume by pressure.
A common nonarticular rheumatic syndrome characterized by myalgia and multiple points of focal muscle tenderness to palpation (trigger points). Muscle pain is typically aggravated by inactivity or exposure to cold. This condition is often associated with general symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, stiffness, HEADACHES, and occasionally DEPRESSION. There is significant overlap between fibromyalgia and the chronic fatigue syndrome (FATIGUE SYNDROME, CHRONIC). Fibromyalgia may arise as a primary or secondary disease process. It is most frequent in females aged 20 to 50 years. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1494-95)
Physiological or psychological effects of periods of work which may be fixed or flexible such as flexitime, work shifts, and rotating shifts.
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Arthritis Fibromyalgia Gout Lupus Rheumatic Rheumatology is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and management of disease involving joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments and associated structures (Oxford Medical Diction...