Napping During Night Shift: Practices, Preferences, and Perceptions of Critical Care and Emergency Department Nurses

Fallis, Wendy M.; McMillan, Diana E.; Edwards, Marie P.
April 2011
Critical Care Nurse;Apr2011, Vol. 31 Issue 2, pe1
Academic Journal
BACKGROUND Nurses working night shifts are at risk for sleep deprivation, which threatens patient and nurse safety. Little nursing research has addressed napping, an effective strategy to improve performance, reduce fatigue, and increase vigilance. OBJECTIVE To explore nurses' perceptions, experiences, barriers, and safety issues related to napping/not napping during night shift. METHODS A convenience sample of critical care nurses working night shift were interviewed to explore demographics, work schedule and environment, and napping/not napping experiences, perceptions, and barriers. Transcripts were constantly compared, and categories and themes were identified. RESULTS Participants were 13 critical care nurses with an average of 17 years' experience. Ten nurses napped regularly; 2 avoided napping because of sleep inertia. The need for and benefits of napping or not during night shift break were linked to patient and nurse safety. Ability to nap was affected by the demands of patient care and safety, staffing needs, and organizational and environmental factors. CONCLUSIONS Nurses identified personal health, safety, and patient care issues supporting the need for a restorative nap during night shift. Barriers to napping exist within the organization/work environment. (Critical Care Nurse. 2011;31[2]: e1-e11)


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