Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Candice Rome

Abstract

We are anticipating a heightened shortage of nurses as our aging population retires. A shortage of workers tends to lead to overtime for those still in the work force. Previous research has demonstrated a link between working long hours, fatigue, and decreased performance among nurses. Fatigue has specifically been linked to on the job injuries and poorer patient outcomes. This research study examined perceived fatigue among nurses in western North Carolina. A convenience sample of nurses from five hospitals in western North Carolina was surveyed to measure fatigue, as well as compare differences in reported fatigue across varying demographic groups. Study participants totaled 610 and represented a widely heterogeneous group of nurses. Results point to an overall presence of fatigue among nurses in the study. Nurses working 12-hour shifts report the highest levels of fatigue. This is consistent with other studies of fatigue among nurses. Additionally, nurses in the study working night shift report the least ability to recover between shifts. These results raise concerns regarding safe, high quality patient care since so many nurses are working 12-hour shifts in hospitals today.

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