Night Shift Effects on Medical Staff



Night shifts consist of the requirement for medical practitioners. Sleep after night work tends to be shorter as compared to sleep after a day’s work. As a result, night workers suffer from poor sleep quality and do not feel refreshed after awakening (Holland 2009). Studies have shown that night shifts have negative effects on the health of medical practitioners. Individuals have different sleep requirements and experts have argued that an adult needs to sleep for at least six hours. Adults who sleep for less than five hours slow their mental ability. They are said to be performing well but this is usually below their maximum possibilities.

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Night shift work, which medical practitioners are involved in, is stressful and has negative impacts on well-being. Night shift also causes health disorders, mental problems, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases among the workers (Goldman 2010). Health care employees on the night shift are frequently absent from work, perform poor quality jobs, and are usually dissatisfied at the workplace.

Data on the effects of night shifts on medical practitioners was collected through qualitative and quantitative methods. In the first instance, medical practitioners in the hospitals were observed according to the quantitative method. The main statistics were obtained from the hospital management information system to administer effective surveys. Another applied method, which is qualitative data collection, is interactive, more credible, and open-ended so that findings of the medical practitioners of the night shift are not generalized (Holland 2009).

Fatigue contributes to human missteps that are interrelated with medical errors. Those physicians, who work for long hours in hospitals, are usually deprived of sleep. Both chronic and acute fatigue can have detrimental effects on the health of the medical practitioner.

When medical practitioners have fatigue, the medical condition of the patients is compromised. Medical practitioners are required to make sound judgments, have good attention and a quick reaction when dealing with patients. Night shift workers experience fatigue, irritability, reduced productivity, and lowered mental agility. Medical staffs working regular night shifts are likely to suffer from sleep disorders that are characterized by lasting insomnia. These medical practitioners are more prone to accidents, concentration loss, and irritability. It has been believed that lack of sleep is more likely connected with depression, mood disorders, and anxiety (Goldman 2010).

Medical staffs are usually unable to sustain long and healthy sleep after their night shift. It results in sleep-related problems that are accompanied by drowsiness, intense feeling, and reduced mental functioning because of lack of vigor. Alertness affects personal safety as it may cause a risk for the medical practitioner to become prone to accidents. Irritability stems from a conflict between the need to sleep and the need to be engaged in social roles and activities (Goldman 2010).

In a healthcare setting where employees are working a night shift, there are usually more accidents. The negative effects of the night shift result from social, biological, and psychological challenges. The night shift work disrupts the natural day-night rhythm of health care workers, which, consequently, affects their mental health. This results in obvious signs of fatigue, which destroys the family relationships and social rhythm of employees (Holland 2009).

The role of the cognitive process is important in the scientific explanation of the purpose of the night shifts. Sleep disorders are in direct correlation with the nightwork of people in a particular institution (Alexander 2012). The research carried out in the primary healthcare facility shows that disorders related to sleep result in reduced productivity. There are problems when healthcare workers continue to fulfill their tasks after experiencing sleep disorders.

It is important to note that age affects an individual’s adaptability to shift work, especially the night shifts. There is high inter-individual variance in their tolerance towards the various work shifts in the healthcare sector. It is common for young people to experience difficulty in coping with night shifts as it may impede their integration in social activities and result in insomnia (Alexander 2012).

Studies have shown that proper sleep hygiene and physical fitness among health workers can be beneficial towards tolerance of the challenges that are faced during the night shifts. Proper sleep and physical fitness reduce fatigue and increase the efficiency of healthcare workers. These measures help medical practitioners maintain their social structures and retain their employment opportunities (Alexander 2012).

Night shifts are preferred by those people who use their daytime for other activities, such as education and attendance at social events. When creating interventions on how to prevent and reduce the negative influence associated with lack of sleep, it has been crucial to take into consideration the prevalence, signs, and impacts of sleep deprivation among medical practitioners (Holland 2009).

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