A study has found that nurses regularly slept less the night before a shift compared to days where they don’t work, putting patient safety at risk.
Researchers at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing have found that nurses slept on average 8 hours and 17 minutes before non-work days, compared to 6 hours and 54 minutes on nights before they were rostered on. This resulted in a sleep deficit averaging 83 minutes between non-work and work nights.
The researchers cited shift work, commute times, and long and varied shift lengths, as reasons why this discrepancy existed.
Lead author Amy Witkoski Stimpfel said that this sleep deficit “may have an impact on a nurse’s health and performance on the job”, noting the risky nature of nursing for both staff and patients.
Co-author and geriatric nursing professor Christine Kovner added that “it’s in everyone’s interest to have nurses well-rested so they can perform their critical function within the health care system and keep patients safe”.