Sleepiness amongst nurses is both prevalent and has implications for patient safety. The objective of this study was to assess overall sleep quality, and vigilance amongst ICU nurses at both the beginning and the end of their shift, and compare it with similar measurements in floor nurses.
Nurses from both the ICU and floor who volunteered were included in the study. Nurses with sleep disorder; history of major cardiopulmonary, or psychiatric disease; on sedative medications were excluded. Nurses filled out the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Questionnaire. (PSQI) Vigilance was assessed on each nurse by means of the standardized and well-validated psychomotor vigilance test (PVT®). Testing was carried out both at the beginning of their shift, and at the end of the same 12 hour shift.
Among both floor and ICU nurses the slow reaction times were unchanged across the shift –however there was a significant reduction in fast reaction time between either ends of the shift only in the floor nurses (205.47 +/− 24.69 vs. 199.95 +/− 19.46; p = 0.027) but not in the ICU nurses (199.95 +/− 19.46 vs. 199.83 +/− 28.99; p = 0.179). Also errors at either end of the shift were different only in the ICU group (2.48 +/− 4.18 vs. 3.57 +/− 6.45; p = 0.029) but not in the floor group (1.64 +/− 2.90 vs. 1.52 +/− 1.42; p = 0.408). Both ESS and SSS were not different between either group. PSQI was more abnormal in the ICU group (7.40 +/− 3.24) vs. the floor group (5.73 +/− 2.59); p = 0.041.
Our data indicate that ICU nurses have more abnormal sleep. They also tend to have a significant reduction in reaction times and a greater frequency of errors across the length of their shift.
Nurses working in an ICU setting tend to have more abnormal sleep and tend to demonstrate a fall in vigilance as the shift progresses which may have implications for patient safety.
Salim Surani, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information