That's why I was especially intrigued when I read last week about a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Critical Care that links nurse fatigue with "decision regret," which is defined as "a negative cognitive emotion that occurs when the actual outcome differs from the desired or expected outcome."
How Much Sleep is Enough?
The study's lead author, Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, says sleeping four or five hours per night simply isn't enough.
"We still require eight hours of sleep within a 24-hour period in order to be effective the next day. [Otherwise,] it's very difficult for you to make good decisions," Scott says, adding that losing even one or two hours of sleep each night is enough to impair function. In fact, other research has shown that "20-25 hours of wakefulness produced performance decrements equivalent to those observed at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10%."
Scott surveyed 605 nurses, and 29% of them reported having experienced decision regret. Nurses with decision regret reported "more fatigue, more daytime sleepiness, less inter-shift recovery, and worse sleep quality than did nurses without decision regret."