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Night nurses at higher risk for physical, mental stress

29 October 2013
Julie Adams, Director, Marketing and Communications
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International
Night nurses at higher risk for physical, mental stress
New book provides practical advice for adapting to inverted sleep schedule
INDIANAPOLIS — To adjust to working the night shift, 25% of nurses go without sleep for up to 24 hours, according to a study at Vanderbilt Medical Center (Public Library of Science One, 13 April 2011). Other night nurses find other ways to cope by:
• Sleeping late the morning prior to their first night shift.
• Maintaining a nighttime schedule on their days off.
• Switching their sleep schedules as their shifts change.
• Taking naps.
Study after study has shown that sleep deprivation impairs human functioning1 and motor skills2, increases vascular stress3, and may depress our immune system4.
Now, help is on the way — for nurses and for employers who want to improve their working environment.
Night Shift Nursing: Savvy Solutions for a Healthy Lifestyle, published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), provides nurses and employers with effective and necessary solutions for maintaining 24-hour care that’s healthy for all involved. Author Katherine Pakieser-Reed, PhD, RN, of the University of Chicago Medicine shares useful tips and practical tools for easing the mind’s and body’s transitions to and from the night shift.
“Learning how to compensate for a disrupted sleep schedule may be a matter of life or death for some nurses,” said STTI President Suzanne Prevost, PhD, RN, COI. “We know that heart problems occur more often among shift workers than day workers, and being unable to interact naturally with family and friends during the day can strain personal relationships. This book will help many nurses cope more effectively with the challenge of working nontraditional hours.”
Pakieser-Reed says night nurses asked for a single source to reference about the many issues they face: health problems, lack of sleep, being unable to interact with family, and more.
“Although quite a bit of information is available about both the benefits and the challenges for nurses who work the night shift … one needs to go from source to source to create a full picture of the issues. The intention of this book is to weave together these sources of information and create an overall view of the variables that create the challenges — both as they exist individually and as they affect others — and the opportunities for improvements into one source of information,” she writes.
Pakieser-Reed shows how to improve one’s response to working nights by making smarter choices, from choosing energizing fitness routines and nutritious food to reconstructing sleep patterns and balancing relationships, as well as keeping one’s career on track when one is not visible to decision makers.
Night Shift Nursing: Savvy Solutions for a Healthy Lifestyle
By Katherine Pakieser-Reed, PhD, RN
Published by STTI
ISBN-13: 9781937554675
Price: US $29.95
Trade paperback, 192 pages
Trim size: 5 3/8 x 8 3/8
Available at
About the author:
Katherine Pakieser-Reed, PhD, RN, is director of the Center for Nursing Professional Practice and Research, University of Chicago Medical Center. She has worked many night shifts in her career as a nurse.
1Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine, May 1996.
2”Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation,” Durmer and Dinges, 2005.
3Journal of Applied Physiology, Sauvet et al, 2009.
4Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, October 2010.
The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922, STTI has more than 135,000 active members in more than 85 countries. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and others. STTI’s roughly 500 chapters are located at approximately 695 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Wales. More information about STTI can be found online at

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