Napping during night shifts benefits nurses and their ability to care for patients, according to a study carried out in Canada.
Restorative napping - defined as a purposeful, brief sleep period - was identified by nurses as a potential strategy to improve performance, safety and personal health.
A total of 13 critical care nurses with an average 17 years’ experience were involved in the study, which was undertaken in response to concerns that nurses on night shifts are risking sleep deprivation and increased stress levels, which in turn can threaten patient safety.
Ten of the nurses stated that they nap regularly during night shifts, although the ability to nap depended on the demands of patient care and staffing needs.
It was suggested that managers of health care facilities provide a safe and comfortable resting place for nurses working night shift, and ensure that nurses do not miss breaks.
- Fallis WM, et al. Napping During Night Shift: Practices, Preferences, and Perceptions of Critical Care and Emergency Department Nurses. Critical Care Nurse 2011; Advance online publication