Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the current state of nurses' shift work in Taiwan and how it affects nurses' stress, sleep quality and self-perceived health status.
Background: To enable the provision of 24-hour patient care, nurses need to work various shifts. Long-term shift work significantly affects nurses' overall physical and mental health.
Method: Nurses from four Chiayi County district hospitals in Taiwan (n = 266) participated in this cross-sectional study from August to September 2010. Demographics, work schedule forms, a stress checklist, a sleep-quality measure and a health-status measure were used to collect data. Independent t-test, one-way anova, Pearson's r, and hierarchical regression were applied for analysis.
Results: The results showed that regardless of the amount of shift work they performed, nurses reported moderate job stress, poor sleep quality and moderate self-perceived health. The following significant relationships were observed: job stress was inversely related to sleep quality, which was directly related to self-perceived health status.
Conclusion and implications for nursing management: Hospital managers need to ensure more healthy shift work scheduling in order to improve nurses' clinical performance and personal health status, thereby also improving the quality of patient care.
Keywords: job stress; self-perceived health status; shift work; sleep quality.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.