J Korean Acad Fundam Nurs.  2014 Nov;21(4):403-412. 10.7739/jkafn.2014.21.4.403.

Association of Sleep Characteristics with Medication Errors for Shift Work Nurses in Intensive Care Units

  • 1Department of Clinical Nursing Science, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Korea.
  • 2Department of Nursing, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. sujungchoi@hanmail.net


Shift work disrupts the synchronization between the human biological clock and the environment. Sleep disturbances are common for shift work nurses, and may threaten patient safety. This study was done to investigate the sleep characteristics and medication errors (ME) of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses who work shifts, and ascertain if there is an association between these factors.
Data were collected using a self-report questionnaire from 126 ICU nurses on three shifts. Collected data included their sleep characteristics including sleep patterns and sleep disturbances, and ME for the past 2 weeks.
There were significant differences in sleep duration and sleep latency according to shift. Day shift nurses had the shortest sleep duration, and their sleep latency was the longest (about 49 minutes) compared to nurses on evening and night shifts; 54% reported sleep disturbances, 16% experienced ME, and among these nurses 50% were on the night shift. Logistic regression analysis revealed significant associations between nurses' sleep duration and ME (adjusted OR 0.52 [95% CI 0.32-0.85]).
The results confirmed that shift worknurses in the ICUs experience sleep disturbance, and that less sleep is associated with ME.


Nurses; Sleep; Medication errors; Intensive care units; Shift work sleep disorder

MeSH Terms

Biological Clocks
Intensive Care Units*
Logistic Models
Medication Errors*
Patient Safety
Surveys and Questionnaires
Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm
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