American Nurses Association Issues Guidelines to Reduce Risk of Nurse Fatigue for Patients and Nurses

April 2015Elisabeth Fall and Andrew Schwartz

Concerned that shift work and long hours were compromising the health and safety of patients and nurses, in late 2014 the American Nurses Association issued a position statement to help employers and nurses collaborate to make more informed decisions about work conditions.

The recommendations include:

  • Giving nurses the right to accept or reject a work assignment based on preventing risks from fatigue, and recognizing that rejecting an assignment does not constitute “patient abandonment” and should not be subject to “retaliation.”
  • That registered nurses not exceed 40 hours of professional nursing work in a seven-day period, and that shifts be limited to 12 hours or less.

UC San Francisco School of Nursing Associate Dean for Research Kathryn Lee was on the steering committee for the ANA’s Professional Issues Panel, which formulated the recommendations. Much of Lee’s career has focused on the issues of sleep disruption and fatigue. In February she spoke with Science of Caring about the new guidelines.