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Nurse Fatigue Employers' Responsibility, Too

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   December 09, 2014

A revised position statement from the American Nurses Association calls for stronger collaboration between nurses and their employers to curb nurse fatigue and its clinical consequences.

Nurse fatigue is frequently linked to patient safety issues, from decision regret to poor hand hygiene compliance. Now, the American Nurses Association has released a revised position statement on the topic that calls for stronger collaboration between nurses and their employers to reduce fatigue.

It statement outlines evidence-based strategies for doing so and makes these recommendations:

  • Involve nurses in the design of work schedules
  • Use regular and predictable schedules
  • Limit work weeks to 40 hours within seven days
  • Limit work shifts to 12 hours
  • Eliminate the use of mandatory overtime
  • Promote frequent, uninterrupted rest breaks during shifts
  • Enact official policy allowing nurses to accept or reject a work assignment based on preventing risks from fatigue. It should include the conditions that a rejected assignment does not constitute patient abandonment, and that RNs should not suffer adverse consequences in retaliation for refusing the assignment.
  • Encourage nurses to manage their health and rest

The position paper was developed by a 15-member Professional Issues Panel on Nurse Fatigue, as well as an advisory committee made up of about 350 additional ANA members.

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Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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