Life-saving sleep: why our helping professionals need their Zzz


"Ambulance Crash" (2008) by James via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

  For those in line to respond to disasters at every level, from the urgency clinic to the city fire department, the need for adequate sleep should not be trivialized. Yet our doctors, nurses, medical students, medics, firefighters, and other first responders are frequently required to work back-to-back shifts or marathon periods exceeding 16 hours a day (sometimes they are expected to work 30 hours at a crack). SHC offers this sobering look into the world of public health and safety through the realities of job-related sleep deprivation.

Patient Safety

2008 || The Joint Commission
The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (PDF)

SEP 2016 || Patient Safety Network
Fatigue, Sleep Deprivation, and Patient Safety

Doctors and Medical Students

FEB 19, 2016 || CBC News
Marathon 24- to 26-hour doctor shifts may be unsafe for patients: experts

MAY 20, 2016 || Huffington Post Sleep+Wellness
Our Least Experienced Doctors Are Dangerously Tired

JUL 12, 2016 || Daily Mail
Exhausted doctor killed in a car crash ‘was singing to his wife on a hands-free mobile to stay awake before falling asleep at the wheel after working three long night shifts’

SEPT 13, 2016 || EHS Today
Sleeping on the Job: Medical Residents Forced to Work Long Shifts

SEPT 14, 2016 || Medscape Pulmonary Medicine
Poll Says 86% of Public Favor 16-Hour Cap on Resident Hours

OCT 14, 2016 || Radio New Zealand
Doctors tell of falling asleep at wheel, making drug errors because of shifts

OCT 14, 2016 || Relief Web
Eastern Aleppo: “We Try to Sleep for Half an Hour to Gain the Strength to Perform Another Surgery”

NOV 6, 2016 || Forbes
Changes In Medical Resident Work Hour Limits Don’t Solve Big Problems

DEC 15, 2016 || The Atlantic
No Doctor Should Work 30 Straight Hours Without Sleep: The American medical system requires dangerous feats of sleep deprivation. It doesn’t have to

JAN 11, 2017 || The Differential (Medscape)
Fighting Fatigue

JAN 17, 2017 || Kevin MD
The debate over how many hours an intern can work misses the point

JAN 17, 2017 || Health
Junior doctors’ strike: ‘nauseous and shaky’ after working nearly 24-hours straight

JAN 23, 2017 || The Sun
Four in ten junior doctors admit to falling asleep at the wheel after a night shift, study claims


JAN 2014 || Journal of Nursing Administration
Sleep deprivation and error in nurses who work the night shift

FEB 1, 2015 || USA Today
Nurses seek to reduce long hours and fatigue

MAR 1, 2015 || AHC Media
Nurse Fatigue a ‘Huge’ Threat to Patient Safety

FEB 17, 2016 ||
Fatigue can jeopardize your work performance and health

JUN 16, 2016 || Health
Wellington-based study examines fatigue for shift-working nurses

AUG 5, 2016 || Medscape Pulmonary Medicine
Should Night-Shift Nurses Nap at Work?

AUG 25, 2016 || Illinois State University News
Q&A with Nursing Professor Teresa Valerio: Secrets of sleep

SEPT 23, 2016 || STAT
Why can’t nurses get a break?

DEC 7, 2016 ||
Working 24-hour shifts with little sleep affects heart function, blood pressure

DEC 16, 2016 || University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing
Impact of Nurse Fatigue and Nursing Handoffs on Patient and Nurse Safety (thesis)


MAR 30, 2016 || EMS WORLD
Cases with a Twist: When Exhaustion Equals Errors

JUN 3, 2016 || EMS-1
Exhausted paramedics: 7 recommendations to reduce impacts of fatigue

JUN 3, 2016 || KFVS-12
MSHP: EMT fell asleep, crashed

JAN 2, 2017 || KVUE
Travis County first responders to get more rest with new sleep rooms

JAN 24, 2017 || Charleston Gazette-Mail
Three injured after ambulance crash


JUN 6, 2016 || Fire Rescue Magazine
Disrupted Sleep and Safety on Scene: The impact that shift work has on firefighter health and safety and provides strategies for overcoming those risks

DEC 1, 2016 || Firehouse
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

JAN 10, 2017 || The Champion
Firefighters may sleep easier in DeKalb after donation

JAN 13, 2017 || American Sleep Association
Sleep Education Reduces Risk of Injury and Disability in Firefighters

About Tamara Kaye Sellman (621 Articles)

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. #ICYMI: Sleep deprivation in the work force – SleepyHead CENTRAL
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