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The impact of shift work on nurses' job stress, sleep quality and self-perceived health status

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Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to describe the current state of nurses' shift work in Taiwan and how it affects nurses' stress, sleep quality and self-perceived health status.

Background

To enable the provision of 24-hour patient care, nurses need to work various shifts. Long-term shift work significantly affects nurses' overall physical and mental health.

Method

Nurses from four Chiayi County district hospitals in Taiwan (n = 266) participated in this cross-sectional study from August to September 2010. Demographics, work schedule forms, a stress checklist, a sleep-quality measure and a health-status measure were used to collect data. Independent t-test, one-way anova, Pearson's r, and hierarchical regression were applied for analysis.

Results

The results showed that regardless of the amount of shift work they performed, nurses reported moderate job stress, poor sleep quality and moderate self-perceived health. The following significant relationships were observed: job stress was inversely related to sleep quality, which was directly related to self-perceived health status.

Conclusion and implications for nursing management

Hospital managers need to ensure more healthy shift work scheduling in order to improve nurses' clinical performance and personal health status, thereby also improving the quality of patient care.

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