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Addressing Occupational Fatigue in Nurses: Current State of Fatigue Risk Management in Hospitals, Part 1

Steege, Linsey M. PhD; Pinekenstein, Barbara J. DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS; Rainbow, Jessica G. BSN, RN; Arsenault Knudsen, Élise MS, RN, ACNS-BC

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: September 2017 - Volume 47 - Issue 9 - p 426–433
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000509

OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to describe the current state of fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) to address nurse fatigue in hospitals.

BACKGROUND Although multiple studies have examined sources and consequences of fatigue, little is known about the current state of FRMS.

METHODS This study used a sequential exploratory mixed-method design including a survey of nurse leaders from across the United States.

FINDINGS Although healthcare organizations have implemented strategies to address fatigue, most participants’ organizations did not have a formal FRMS in place. Monitoring individual nurses’ levels of fatigue and using tools to predict fatigue risk were rare.

CONCLUSIONS Significant opportunities exist to implement formal FRMS in healthcare. Nursing leaders, in partnership with other organizational leaders, should develop a formal plan to monitor fatigue and implement multiple levels of interventions to prevent fatigue and mitigate its consequences.

Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor (Dr Steege), Clinical Professor and Richard E. Sinaiko Professor in Health Care Leadership (Dr Pinekenstein), and PhD Student (Mss Rainbow and Knudsen), School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Support was provided through a 2015 to 2016 Research Support Award from the School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Steege, School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 701 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53705 (

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.