NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours
You can implement several strategies to reduce the burdens/risks of long work hours and shift work for your staff: 21,26
- If possible, reduce demanding tasks during times when nurses may be at higher risk for fatigue: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; after the ninth hour of a work shift; and night shifts, particularly 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
- Maintain adequate environmental conditions (heat, air conditioning, lighting) across all work times. Consulting with a human factors engineer or architect can be helpful to measure and design lighting that promotes alertness during the night shift.
- Schedule the following to accommodate evening and night shift workers so they do not need to interrupt their optimal sleep times:
- health care and counseling
- training and administrative meetings
- social programs
- Night nurses are often very tired at the end of their work shifts so it is best to find another time to hold staff meetings with them.
- During night shifts and other difficult schedule times, it is helpful to schedule two or more workers per area so that they can promote each other’s alertness.
Page last reviewed: March 31, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health