The Negative Impacts of Shift Work on Nurses

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In the past two decades, a lot of changes have been characterised in the healthcare working systems. One of these changes has been the assimilation of shift work systems and the flexibility in work schedules. The need for 24 hour care makes the healthcare professions to work with different shift systems such as 12 h, 8 h, 9 h or 10 hour shifts. However, the common shift work systems divide a 24-h day in two (12-h) or three (8-h) shifts. Nonetheless, this requires the staff to be adapted with the various forms of shift work schedules.

The negative impacts of shift work on workers’ health such as fatigue and sleep which are the main complain among the staff, job performance, psychosocial well-being, and job dissatisfaction have been well reported in the literature (Poissonnet, 2000; Costa 1996). Community based studies of fatigue demonstrates the prevalence of fatigue in the primary care studies which is defined by loss of energy and tiredness among the worker ranging from 10% to 45% (Lewis and Wessely, 1992). This prevalence is associated with physical activity, psychosocial variables such as depression and anxiety, and psychological problems. The data of NHANES indicated that female respondents were suffering from fatigue with a percentage of 20.4% which is higher than male respondents 14.3%. This finding pointed out to the higher risk among women than men about 1.5 times risk (Chen, 1986). Therefore, fatigue is considered as a symptom resulted from shift work, which has an impact on the health. It has a significant effect on the level of alertness, concentration, judgment, mood, and performance that might be a reason of increased the risk of injury and medical errors (Dawson and Zee, 2005). Moreover, fatigue can also impa...

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...evidence for both future research and clinical practice.

The objectives which assist accomplishment of the review’s aim are:

• To recognize and systematically review the available evidence based

• To describe and appraise the methodological quality of current selected studies

• To demonstrate the effect of working hours on nurse’s health, wellbeing and satisfaction.

• To identify the best shift system for nurses

This chapter has introduced the issues of shift work and its impact on the workers such as fatigue and sleep. It has given a brief justification for the present review and presented the aim and objectives. The following chapter will provide a more in-depth discussion of the literature review, presenting more about the shift work, working hours, and the researches have been done on nurse’s physical health and wellbeing, and job satisfaction.
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