Rotating shift work, sleep, and accidents related to sleepiness in hospital nurses

Am J Public Health. 1992 Jul;82(7):1011-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.82.7.1011.


A hospital-based survey on shift work, sleep, and accidents was carried out among 635 Massachusetts nurses. In comparison to nurses who worked only day/evening shifts, rotators had more sleep/wake cycle disruption and nodded off more at work. Rotators had twice the odds of nodding off while driving to or from work and twice the odds of a reported accident or error related to sleepiness. Application of circadian principles to the design of hospital work schedules may result in improved health and safety for nurses and patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bias
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Night Care*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / supply & distribution
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / standards
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / statistics & numerical data
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*
  • Workforce