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Medical Errors and Decreased Vigilance Among Night Shift Nurses

Background: Many night shift nurses can suffer from being tired during shifts for many different reasons. Trying to eliminate errors that can occur from sleepiness is important. Purpose: The purpose is to find if there is a correlation between working a night shift and an increase in errors or psychomotor function. With these findings we can find ways to decrease the potential risk for errors and also increase wakefulness during the shift. Methods: A poster was created to explain the risks of sleep deprivation, specifically in night shift workers, and also shows potential ways to increase wakefulness during the shift and sleep during the day. Research was used to compare the differences between night shift workers and daytime workers and how their shift time affected these errors and psychomotor function. Results:  These studies showed that medical errors were increased and psychomotor function was decreased in night shift workers. It was found that disrupting your circadian rhythm may increase mistakes made. These results also increased the more hours and days that you work. Educating night shift workers on the increased risk for errors and a decrease in psychomotor function can help bring attention to the problem and can start a conversation within the units on how to keep their staff awake and alert.
Conclusion: Education is the most important tool to help combat sleep deprivation that is associated with errors and psychomotor function. Knowing the risks can help units and individuals create a plan to increase wakefulness throughout a shift.

Morgan Burnham '23 
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