Caretaker Burnout

Nurses Sleep Deprivation

Angie SzumlinskiHealth

In a recently published article in Science News, nurses don’t sleep enough, period. Per the article, nurses sleep nearly an hour and a half less before workdays which can impact patient care. It has long been known that shift work can impact sleep cycles and overall quality of life. Nurses tend to work odd shifts, 12-hour shifts, double shifts, etc. and are at high risk of experiencing the effects of sleep deprivation. So what does that mean for our residents?

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According to the article, “work-related sleep loss has led to serious errors in other industries, with the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl as a particularly devastating example. In healthcare, fatigued nurses may be a risk for making critical mistakes in administering medication or making clinical decisions.”

So what can we do for our staff to assist them in coming to work refreshed and rested? We know we can’t go home with them and make them a cup of chamomile tea; however, we can provide some additional education and resources to them to assist them in developing good sleep hygiene habits. Sure, easier said than done, we have staff who go home to raise children, take care of elderly parents, etc. but at the end of the day, it is in everyone’s best interest to encourage good sleep hygiene.

There are many scholarly articles published on this subject including the two links below. Encourage your staff to read, provide these links to them, copy the articles/recommendations and talk with them about things happening in their lives that may be impacting their ability to get the sleep they so need to function at their highest level.