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Night shift preparation, performance, and perception: are there differences between emergency medicine nurses, residents, and faculty?

  • Author(s): Richards, John R;
  • Stayton, Taylor L;
  • Wells, Jason A;
  • Parikh, Aman K;
  • Laurin, Erik G
  • et al.
Abstract

OBJECTIVE:Determine differences between faculty, residents, and nurses regarding night shift preparation, performance, recovery, and perception of emotional and physical health effects. METHODS:Survey study performed at an urban university medical center emergency department with an accredited residency program in emergency medicine. RESULTS:Forty-seven faculty, 37 residents, and 90 nurses completed the survey. There was no difference in use of physical sleep aids between groups, except nurses utilized blackout curtains more (69%) than residents (60%) and faculty (45%). Bedroom temperature preference was similar. The routine use of pharmacologic sleep aids differed: nurses and residents (both 38%) compared to faculty (13%). Residents routinely used melatonin more (79%) than did faculty (33%) and nurses (38%). Faculty preferred not to eat (45%), whereas residents (24%) preferred a full meal. The majority (>72%) in all groups drank coffee before their night shift and reported feeling tired despite their routine, with 4:00 a.m. as median nadir. Faculty reported a higher rate (41%) of falling asleep while driving compared to residents (14%) and nurses (32%), but the accident rate (3% to 6%) did not differ significantly. All had similar opinions regarding night shift-associated health effects. However, faculty reported lower level of satisfaction working night shifts, whereas nurses agreed less than the other groups regarding increased risk of drug and alcohol dependence. CONCLUSION:Faculty, residents, and nurses shared many characteristics. Faculty tended to not use pharmacologic sleep aids, not eat before their shift, fall asleep at a higher rate while driving home, and enjoy night shift work less.

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