NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours
- Make your staff nurses’ sleep a priority.
- Avoid difficult work-scheduling patterns (these are described in the next pages). Shift work and long shifts put nurses at risk for making patient care errors.7-11
- A schedule that is regular and predictable helps nurses plan ahead for sleep and non-work responsibilities. The inability to plan is one factor that makes emergency, on call, mandatory, and unplanned overtime difficult.
- Allowing workers some control over their schedule helps improve health, safety, and well-being.
- Individuals vary in their ability to adjust to shift work. A select few can adapt without much trouble, and most will tolerate it with some difficulties, but others will not be able to adjust and will leave the job.
Page last reviewed: March 31, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health