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18 Ways to Reduce Nurse Fatigue

By Team Altus | Published Jul 07, 2019

Fatigue increases room for errors and diminishes productivity, putting patients in danger. It also poses danger to the nurses' health. Nurses and their employers need to come together to reduce nurse fatigue.

What is Fatigue

Fatigue as a way to describe an overall feeling of exhaustion or weariness. It isn't simply feeling sleepy. Fatigue makes it difficult to focus, have motivation, or perform tasks.

Mild fatigue is a common feeling that happens to just about everyone.

Persistent fatigue in nurses can become a more serious issue and affect patient safety.

What Causes Fatigue

Fatigue can be a result of a variety of health problems or conditions.

  • Mental health issues
  • Metabolic reasons
  • Medications
  • Heart and lung conditions
  • Lack of sleep
  • Chronic pain
  • Various diseases or conditions
  • Activity levels
  • Weight

Symptoms of fatigue may be physical, mental, or emotional.

Nurse Tips to Fatigue

Focus on rest on their days off and prioritize sleep on workdays despite hectic schedules. Take a slow walk, do a face mask, take a warm bath, do some stretching, sing or dance, journal, read or meditate! Stay hydrated and don’t overdo the coffee or alcohol. Maintain an active family and social life. While at work, take lunch and breaks in a quiet area. Look for signs of fatigue and be honest with yourself. Make an effort to recharge.

Nurse Employer Tips to Fatigue

  • Optimize schedules
  • Use 12-hour shifts judiciously
  • Limit the number of consecutive working days
  • Adequate staffing levels

Provide education to staff on what fatigue is, the signs and what they can do to overcome.

Caring for Nurses

Healthcare professionals are responsible for many people’s lives. But who is looking out for them? In their daily routines, they care for a number of people and have a lasting impact on patients. Nursing can take a toll on the body and one way to mitigate long-term bodily damage is through an ergonomic work environment.

Adjustable Workstations

Adjustable carts should quickly and easily calibrate to the user's ergonomic requirements. Strategically place accessories that hold equipment and tools on the cart. Opt for a lightweight cart. Excessive lifting can lead to user fatigue and in some cases injury. Adjust the height of monitors and the cart to the user's optimal ergonomic height level.

Equip carts with storage to hold medication and supplies to eliminate trips to the supply room and pharmacy. Make sure your monitor can swivel so you can share information with patients and caregiver without strain. Dual mounts – look at two things simultaneously. A larger screen reduces neck and shoulder pain. Added bonus - productivity increases!

Only utilize workstations with a durable tilting keyboard and mouse platform. A soft wrist rest should be available for ultimate ergonomic comfort.

What is Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a branch of science dedicated to a holistic working experience.

It is the study of people in their working environment and the ways that they react and respond to it. To practice ergonomics is to evaluate the human experience in relation to their workplace -- the ways in which that space interacts with the bodies in it. It is a multidisciplinary science that uses data and techniques from several fields including anthropometry, biomechanics, environmental physics, applied psychology, and social psychology. Ergonomics, or human factors, has the goal to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury due to workplace procedures, equipment, or constraints.

Ergonomics Impact on Nurses

Ergonomics has the power to change the way that nurses conduct their work. How can a concept have such an impact?

Read further to discover the ways that enhanced ergonomic workstations have a profound impact on the efficiency, health, and overall well-being of nurses in the healthcare industry.

*Altus products are designed to meet guidelines established by the American National Standards Institute for computer use. ANSI/HFES 100-2007: Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations

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