Rotating Shifts Negatively Impacts Health and Wellness Among Intensive Care Nurses

Workplace Health Saf. 2019 May;67(5):241-249. doi: 10.1177/2165079918820866. Epub 2019 Mar 2.


The impact of shift work on sleep and health has been examined in the past, but most studies utilized cross-sectional designs relying on between-subject differences. The purpose this study was to examine the within-subject differences in self-report measures of health and wellness among a group of nurses engaged in rotating shifts. Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) measures, collected post-day and post-night shift, were used to assess health, sleep disturbances and sleep-related impairment, fatigue, emotional distress (anger), satisfaction with social roles outside of work, and applied cognitive abilities. Among the sample of 23 White, mostly female (91.3%) nurses, all PROMIS measures were worse indicting lower health and wellness after working night shifts compare to after working day shifts ( p values from .167 to < .001). During both time points of assessment, sleep-related impairment was highly correlated with greater emotional distress, greater fatigue, and worse memory and concentration. Study findings support prior studies that shift work can negatively impact health and wellness.

Keywords: disease prevention; health promotion; nurses; research; rotating shifts.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data
  • Pennsylvania
  • Self Report
  • Shift Work Schedule / adverse effects*
  • Shift Work Schedule / psychology
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / complications*
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires