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Nurses working extended shifts, are tired at work and sleep little likely to drive drowsy
Date:12/1/2007

WESTCHESTER, Ill. Hospital staff nurses who work extended hours, work at night, struggle to remain awake at work, or obtain less sleep are more likely to experience a drowsy driving episode, according to a study published in the December 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Linda D. Scott, PhD, of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., focused on data that were collected from 895 full-time hospital staff nurses, who completed logbooks on a daily basis for four weeks providing information concerning work hours, sleep duration, drowsy and sleep episodes at work, and drowsy driving occurrences.

According to the results, almost 67 percent of the nurses reported at least one episode of drowsy driving, and three percent reported experiencing drowsy driving following every shift worked. On average, nurses reported experiencing an episode of drowsy driving one out of every four shifts they worked.

Two-hundred eighty-one episodes of motor vehicle crashes/near-motor vehicle crashes were reported during the study period. The majority of these incidents occurred following shifts that exceeded 12.5 hours in duration. The likelihood of a motor vehicle crash/near-motor vehicle crash significantly increased with longer shift durations. The risk for a motor vehicle crash/near-motor vehicle crash almost doubled when driving following shifts that exceeded 12.5 hours.

The risk for a drowsy driving episode doubled when nurses worked 12.5 or more consecutive hours. Working at night also significantly increased the risk for drowsy driving incident. In fact, 79.5 percent of the nurses who worked only night shifts reported at least one episode of drowsy driving.

Almost two-thirds of the nurses reported struggling to stay awake at work at least once during the study period, and 16.9 percent of the nurses actually fell asleep at least one during their work shift. Nurses who struggled to stay awake at wo
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Contact: Jim Arcuri
jarcuri@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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