Introduction: Reduction in the amount of sleep predisposes individuals to sleep deprivation, resulting in poor psychomotor performance. Nurses who work the night shift may be particularly subject to sleep deprivation because of irregularity of sleep hours and disruptions in the circadian cycle. Few studies discuss the influence of sleep deprivation among nurses and how sleep deprivation influences psychomotor performance. Poor psychomotor performance has been associated with an increase in error. Increased error can be translated into an unsafe work environment. The identification of sleep deprivation in nurses is essential for maintaining a safe work environment. Methods: The d2 test of attention, a timed pencil and paper letter recognition psychomotor performance test was administered with the Profile of Mood States, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality index, and a demographic questionnaire to nurses while they were working on the night shift in the hospital setting. The sample was classified as sleep deprived or not sleep deprived. Results: The sample of 289-licensed nurses was predominantly female. Fifty six percent of the sample was sleep deprived. While there was no significant difference in psychomotor performance scores between the sleep deprived and the non-sleep deprived groups, the mean psychomotor performance scores in both groups were above than the normative mean (26.6 male, 11.4 female) for male (44.4) and female (41.03). There was also a significant (p<0.0001) inverse relationship between psychomotor performance and hours of sleep. Conclusion: The total sample of night shift nurses revealed poor psychomotor performance scores. Sleep deprived nurses who worked the night shift had poorer sleep quality (p=0.0006) and lower mood states (p=0.0094). As the hours of sleep decreased the psychomotor performance declined.
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