OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between sleep deprivation and occupational and patient care errors among staff nurses who work the night shift. BACKGROUND: Whereas the aviation and trucking industries report that sleep deprivation increases errors, few studies have examined sleep deprivation association with occupational and patient care errors among nurses. METHODS: A cross-sectional correlational design was used to evaluate relationships between sleep deprivation and occupational and patient care errors in 289 hospital night shift nurses. RESULTS: More than half (56%) of the sample reported being sleep deprived. Sleep-deprived nurses made more patient care errors. Testing for associations with occupational errors was not feasible because of the low number of occupational errors reported. CONCLUSION: Interventions to increase the quality and quantity of sleep among hospital night shift nurses are needed. Improved sleep among night shift nurses will reduce the impact of sleep deprivation on patient care errors.
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