Study objective: To assess if less than 11 hours off work between work shifts (quick returns) was related to insomnia, sleepiness, fatigue, anxiety, depression and shift work disorder among nurses.
Methods: A questionnaire including established instruments measuring insomnia (Bergen Insomnia Scale), sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale), fatigue (Fatigue Questionnaire), anxiety/depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and shift work disorder was administered. Among the 1990 Norwegian nurses who participated in the study; 264 nurses had no quick returns, 724 had 1-30 quick returns and 892 had more than 30 quick returns during the past year. 110 nurses did not report the number of quick returns during the past year. The prevalence of insomnia, excessive sleepiness, excessive fatigue, anxiety, depression and shift work disorder was calculated within the three groups of nurses. Crude and adjusted logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the relation between quick returns and such complaints.
Results: We found a significant positive association between quick returns and insomnia, excessive sleepiness, excessive fatigue and shift work disorder. Anxiety and depression were not related to working quick returns.
Conclusions: There is a health hazard associated with quick returns. Further research should aim to investigate if workplace strategies aimed at reducing the number of quick returns may reduce complaints among workers.