The Impact of a Rigorous Multiple Work Shift Schedule and Day Versus Night Shift Work on Reaction Time and Balance Performance in Female Nurses

A Repeated Measures Study
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the impact of a demanding work schedule involving long, cumulative work shifts on response time and balance-related performance outcomes and to evaluate the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders between day and night shift working nurses.
Methods: A questionnaire was used to identify the prevalence of past (12-month) and current (7-day) musculoskeletal disorders. Nurses worked three 12-hour work shifts in a 4-day period. Reaction time and balance tests were conducted before and after the work period.
Results: The work period induced impairments for reaction time, errors on reaction time tasks, and balance performance, independent of shift type. Musculoskeletal symptom prevalence was high in workers of both work shifts.
Conclusions: Compressed work shifts caused performance-based fatigue in nurses. Reaction time and balance tests may be sensitive fatigue identification markers in nurses.

Source: Thompson, Brennan J.; Stock, Matt S.; Banuelas, Victoria K.; Akalonu, Chibuzo C. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2016, Volume 58, Issue 7, p. 737-743.

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