Fatigue-Related Risks

On The Quick

Fatigue-Related Risks

Nurses who work more than a 12-hour shift are at risk for error or injury

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
to Save

The correlation between medical staff fatigue and decreasing patient safety is well-documented and has prompted the Joint Commission to issue a Sentinel Alert along with concrete suggestions to avoid unnecessary risks.

A 2007 article from The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety reported that residents working recurrent 24-hour shifts and nurses who worked more than 12-hour shifts were involved in three times as many fatigue-related, preventable adverse events. Workers in these categories are also more likely to experience-on-the job injuries. The current alert is a follow-up to the 2007 article.
The commission asks healthcare organizations to avoid the risks of extended work days and cumulative days of extended hours by doing the following:

•    Assess fatigue-related risks such as off-shift hours, consecutive shift work and staffing levels.
•    Assess procedures when patients’ care is transitioning from one caregiver to another, a period of risk in itself and compounded by fatigue.
•    Seek staff input on design of work schedules to minimize fatigue.
•    Implement scientific strategies for fighting fatigue, such as caffeine, physical activity, short naps and timely conversation.
•    Undertake staff education about good sleep habits at home and the link to patient safety.
•    Encourage teamwork to support double-checking in the case of complex patients or tasks.
•    Ensure that employees have break areas conducive to rest.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

You might also like

On The Quick

Naloxone Manufacturers Donate 30,000 Free Doses

New surgeon general advisory

On The Quick

New Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

American Cancer Society recommends starting at age 45 or younger

On The Quick

Few Men Seeking BRCA Cancer Screening

Breast cancer is a risk for men too

View all On The Quick Articles

Robert Noakes