A recent study published by Linda D. Scott, RN, PhD, Cynthia Arslanian-Engoren RN, PhD, and Milo C. Engoren, MD, surveyed over 600 critical care nurses and found almost a third - 29% - experienced some type of decision regret while feeling fatigued.
Among the nurses the authors surveyed, those who reported decision regret were more likely to to work nights and work 12-hour shifts. Although there were no demographic differences (age, race, family status, etc) between those nurses who reported decision regret, those who did report regret reported significantly more acute fatigue.
What does this type of fatigue look like? increased daytime sleepiness, significantly less recovery time between shifts, and poor overall sleep quality.
The authors conclude that:
These findings are consistent with those of other studies in which persistent and chronic sleep debt was associated with devastating effects on performance and with adverse health and safety consequences.
The Cleveland Clinic has several recommendations on how to help combat fatigue, especially for those who work nights or 12+ hours:
If possible, limit the number of nights and hours worked and avoid excess overtime
Practice good sleep hygiene and maintain a good sleep schedule on off daysAvoid excess nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, which may help sleep and wakefulness in the short term, but contribute to long-term fatigue
Need more resources to address shift work sleep disorders or fatigue in general?