Aim. This paper reports a study to determine the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep habits among hospital nurses and to analyse associations between excessive daytime sleepiness and different types of medical error.
Background. It has been reported that sleep disorders, and the tiredness and sleepiness brought about by sleep disorders may be associated with occupational accidents. However, to our knowledge, there has so far been no report on associations between sleep disorders, excessive daytime sleepiness in particular, and occupational accidents among hospital nurses.
Methods. The study was a cross-sectional study targeting 4407 nurses working in eight large general hospitals in Japan. An anonymous self-administered questionnaire was used to investigate their sleep patterns and experience of occupational accidents. The data were collected in 2003.
Results. The prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness among hospital nurses in the present study was 26·0%. A statistically significant relationship was observed between having or not having occupational accidents during the past 12 months and excessive daytime sleepiness. Multiple logistic regression analyses on factors leading to occupational accidents during the past 12 months showed statistically significant associations between (1) drug administration errors and (2) shift work and age, between (1) incorrect operation of medical equipment and (2) excessive daytime sleepiness and age, and between needlestick injuries and age.
Conclusions. Excessive daytime sleepiness is an important occupational health issue in hospital nurses. It is possible that occupational policies and health promotion measures, such as a provision of sleep hygiene advice and social support at worksites, would be effective in preventing occupational accidents among hospital nurses.