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Hospital staff nurses' work hours, meal periods, and rest breaks. A review from an occupational health nurse perspective.
AAOHN J 2010 Nov; 58(11):489-499
Registered nurses are the largest group of health care providers in the United States. To provide 24-hour care, hospital staff nurses often work long hours and consecutive shifts, without adequate meal or rest breaks. Serious declines in functioning related to provider fatigue can lead to safety issues for patients and nurses alike. The occupational health nurse can assess the effects of nurses' work hours and break periods on employee health, educate staff on the importance of sleep and deleterious effects of fatigue, and implement programs to improve the work environment. This article examines nurses' work hours, break and meal period laws and regulations, and the role of the occupational health nurse in caring for this group of employees. Overall findings suggest that the expertise of an occupational health nurse in the hospital setting could significantly improve the health and safety of staff nurses.
Nurses; Nursing; Work-analysis; Work-intervals; Shift-work; Shift-workers; Health-care-personnel; Rest-periods; Occupational-health-nursing; Job-stress; Nutrition; Work-performance; Worker-health; Fatigue; Safety-measures; Sleep-deprivation; Education; Work-organization
Amy Witkoski, MS, RN, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Claire M. Fagin Hall, 418 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104
Issue of Publication
AAOHN Journal - American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Journal
University of Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division