March 1, 2022

Management of occupational fatigue in nurses

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study by researchers at School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, describes the development of a fatigue risk management tool that can be used by nurses to pursue balance between work demands and capacity to meet those demands.

Interviews with 21 nurses identified four design goals for the tool:

  • Include data on demands and capacity that account for nursing work complexities.
  • Augment current nursing processes; don’t add more work.
  • Enable and support proactive decisions and management actions.
  • Be flexible to meet the needs of different nursing specialties, perspectives.

These goals led to the development of seven design principles, which were applied to two initial design concepts for tools to support fatigue risk management—one to facilitate shared situation awareness about work demands in real time for all nursing staff on a particular unit, and one with a visual interface with options to trend fatigue and display it with organizational outcomes (eg, patient safety metrics, nursing care quality indicators, and workforce measures such as turnover, illness and injuries, and job satisfaction).

Considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prepandemic state of nurses’ stress, burnout, and poor well-being, there is an urgent need to institute fatigue risk management, the authors say.


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