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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Work Setting (Continued)

Organizational Factors

  • Consider appropriate wakening methods. The napping nurse could use an alarm clock, and the unit could schedule a person to check on a nurse who does not return to the work unit on time.
  • Increased staffing may be necessary to ensure sufficient numbers of nurses are active while colleagues are napping. Each unit may need to determine the appropriate level of staffing for patient care that allows the nurse to relax and nap without worry.
  • Consider helping to develop appropriate hospital policies related to napping during work-shift breaks.
  • Consider providing appropriately furnished, safe rooms for employees to nap or sleep longer after their shift before they drive home.

These issues can be tackled effectively when all parties agree on and work together toward the goal of instituting systems in the workplace that prevent risks connected with fatigue and poor sleep.


Shift work and long work hours are demanding and are associated with sleepiness, accidents, and errors. One strategy to relieve your sleepiness is the use of planned naps. Research indicates that judicious use of naps inside and outside the workplace can help increase your alertness. Consider how to make use of this important strategy in your workplace and your personal life.

Module: 7, Page 11 of 13