Nurse Fatigue and Shift Length: A Pilot Study

Deborah Maust Martin, DNP, MBA, RN, NE-BC, FACHE

Disclosures

Nurs Econ. 2015;33(2):81-87. 

In This Article

Results

Survey responses were analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2010 and Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 21.0. Descriptive data, including frequency reports of demographics, are presented for the entire sample.

To examine fatigue, the OFER subscales of Acute Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue, and Recovery were examined. The scores were summed as instructed in the instrument manual obtained via personal communication with the author (P. Winwood, personal communication, March 5, 2013). Higher scores on each computed subscale indicate a higher level, or amount, of the subscale. For example, those with higher scores in the Acute Fatigue subscale experienced more fatigue at the end of their work shift. Those with higher scores in the Chronic Fatigue subscale had higher levels of chronic fatigue and those with higher Inter-shift Recovery subscale scores experienced more recovery between shifts worked.

The Wilcoxon matched-pairs test was used to examine the effect of working 8-hour shifts versus working 12-hour shifts on nurse fatigue (acute, chronic, inter-shift recovery) and job satisfaction post-test. Wilcoxon match-pairs test is a nonparametric test used with small sample sizes "to determine if there is a relationship between two correlated measures of the same variable" (Plichta & Kelvin, 2013, p.137).

Effect size and power analysis were also evaluated following data collection to determine if conclusions could be made from the data using a significance of p<0.10. The project had a small sample size as with a pilot study; therefore, one can use the critical p-value of p<0.10 (Fugate Woods, Lentz, Mitchell, Heitkemper, & Shaver, 1997). Outcomes of the evaluation follow.

Demographics

Demographic information was collected from participating subjects. Of the nine participants, seven completed both the pre and the post-survey (see Table 1).

Sleep

The self-reported mean difference is 0.36 hours, or an additional 22 minutes of sleep per day at a p=0.059 between the 12-hour and 8-hours shifts (see Table 2).

Hours Worked

The self-reported mean for hours worked per week while working 12-hour shifts was 36.71 hours and 37.57 while working 8-hour shifts (see Table 3) reflected a difference of 51 minutes per week on average. No extra shifts were reported during the project period.

Fatigue and Inter-shift Recovery

To examine fatigue, the OFER subscales of Acute Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue, and Recovery subscale were used. The scores were calculated as instructed in the instrument manual (P. Winwood, personal communication, March 5, 2013).

Acute Fatigue

The median difference between the two times for acute fatigue was p= 0.279 (see Table 4).

Chronic Fatigue

The median difference between the two times for chronic fatigue was p=0.144 (see Table 5).

Inter-shift Recovery

The median difference between the two times for inter-shift recovery was p=0.027 (see Table 6).

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