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Lapses of attention and reaction time in sleep-deprived nurses working successive 12-Hour shifts.

Geiger-Brown J; Rogers V; Bausell R; Trinkoff A; Kane R; Scharf SM
Sleep 2010 Jun; 33(Abstract):A102-A103
Introduction: Sleep deprivation is common among nurses working 12- hour shifts, and has the potential to reduce effectiveness by decreasing vigilence. Little is known about actual neurobehavioral performance of nurses during work. Our aim was to (1) describe sample heterogeneity in lapsing over days, and (2) predict lapses and reaction time based on endogenous and exogenous factors. Methods: Registered nurses working three successive 12-hour shifts (either day or night) were recruited (N = 80). Using the 5-minute Palm PVT, lapses and median reaction time were measured. Exogenous predictors included caffeine use, smoking status, shift worked (either day or night), consecutive day of work (1 thru 3), activity and noise level at work. Endogenous variables included age, depression, fatigue levels (acute, chronic, intershift). Heterogeneity of lapsing over consecutive days was estimated using Poisson latent growth curve analyses. Bivariate correlations were used to assess relationship of predictors to median reaction time, and negative binomial regression was used for prediction of lapses. Results: Total sleep time between 12-hour shifts was short (mean 5.5 hours). Lapses showed an overdispersed Poisson distribution, and ranged from 0 to 48 lapses per PVT test, with half of nurses committing 0-1 lapse, and 10 % of nurses lapsing 9 or more times during the testing period. There was a trait-like pattern of lapsing with three latent classes identified based on frequency: rare (54%), moderate (39%) and frequent lapsers (7%) with class bearing little relationship to pattern of lapsing over time. Factors associated with lapses included: sleep prior to shift, caffeine use, and fatigue levels. Median reaction time showed little relationship to predictors. Conclusion: Achieved sleep between 12 hour shifts is too short, and is related to lapses of attention. A small number of nurses with high trait lapsing accounted for a significant number of vigilence failures.
Humans; Men; Women; Shift-work; Shift-workers; Workers; Work-environment; Nursing; Nurses; Medical-personnel; Safety-measures; Etiology; Age-groups; Statistical-analysis; Sleep-deprivation; Sleep-disorders; Health-care-personnel
J. Geiger-Brown PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, 655 W Lombard St, Ste 575, Baltimore, MD 21201
Publication Date
Document Type
Email Address
Funding Type
Grant; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R21-OH-008392; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008460
Source Name
Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research
Performing Organization
University of Maryland - Baltimore
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division