MUSC The Catalyst
MUSC arial view


MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants Catalyst PDF File MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause

MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research
                          Studies Public Relations Research
                          Grants MUSC home page Community
                          Happenings Campus
                          News Applause


Survey hopes to help shift workers, sleep habits

By Susan Johnson
Employee Wellness

Responding to research citing the level of health care worker fatigue, MUSC Employee Wellness is developing a campaign to create a work environment that minimizes the effects of fatigue on employees.

The first part of the campaign will be to gather information from nurses and other shift workers who are being asked to respond to surveys in a research study. Research suggests that health care workers, particularly nurses, tend to work longer shifts with fewer breaks than most Americans. The study is designed to determine the effects of this long and often unpredictable schedule on overall nutritional health and wellness.

There will be multiple surveys done to hit all shift workers, with the first set starting Feb. 17 to focus on nurses. The surveys are conducted by the MUSC Employee Wellness Program in partnership with the MUSC Dietetic Internship. The results will be used to help create a campaign designed to improve specific concerns and issues related to shift work. This survey is voluntary and anonymous.

One of the recent reports on the need for this kind of focus was an alert from The Joint Commission on health care worker fatigue and patient safety focusing on the need to address the issue, given the consequences of fatigue to both patients and workers, primarily based on research related to nurses working extended shifts and studies looking at the impact of long resident duty hours. Recommendations in this alert give health care organizations strategies to help reduce the risks of fatigue that result from extended work hours, reducing the likelihood that fatigue will contribute to preventable patient harm.

For more information, visit

Shift work sleep disorder affects people who frequently rotate shifts or work at night, causing a recurrent pattern of sleep interruption, resulting in insomnia or excessive sleepiness during waking hours. Health care workers, nurses in particular who work the night shift are more likely to have poor sleep habits, a practice that can increase the likelihood of committing serious errors that can put the safety of themselves as well as their patients at risk, according to a study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

For information on the importance of sleep, visit or attend "Sleep Strategies for Shift Workers" session at 12:15 p.m., Feb. 13 in Room 118, Colbert Education Center & Library. Email to register.

Contact to become involved in employee wellness at MUSC.



Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.