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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Key Points

  • 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.
Module: 5, Page 3 of 20