Fatigue, which is also confused with sleepiness, refers to the state of the body where the body is overwhelmed by tiredness, exhaustion and lack of adequate energy in the body resulting from long hours of work, while lack of sleep can also be a contributing factor (Shen, Barbera…
Thus, while fatigue derives from a number of causes, there is one aspect of fatigue that is highly dangerous to the performance of nurses. The fatigue derived from extended working shifts for nurses, coupled with deprivation of enough sleep results to a state of body where the nurses can neither function effectively physically nor apply the cognitive function of the mind efficiently.
Studies have indicated that within the last century, the average sleep duration for working days has changed, from 9 hours in 1910, to 6 hours in 2002 (Rogers, 2008). Thus, while the actual sleeping duration for healthy adults has not yet been determined, the effects of extended period of work, coupled with lack of adequate sleep has been extensively documented. The well defined adverse effects of sleep deprivation that is coupled with extended long period of work include reduced motivation and mood alterations, physiological problems and cognitive problems, which then translates to poor job performance and high safety risks (Shen, Barbera & Shapiro, 2006). Other adverse effects of extended working shifts and deprivation of sleep are irritability, stress and depression, which in turn affect the interpersonal communication and interaction between the individuals involved and other parties.
In this respect therefore, fatigue that arises either from extended shifts for the nurses, resulting to their overworking, or the fatigue that results from deprivation of adequate sleep, has the potential of affecting the nurses in two major ways. First, such fatigue is likely to result to irritation and mood changes, which means that the nurses will address and interact with patients in a less productive manner, or even in a more negative manner, resulting to the patients being dissatisfied with the nurses’ services (Rogers, 2008). Secondly, fatigue is likely to cause the ...
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