She says that these nurses are totally honest about having two jobs, and that the hospital has no policy governing what its staff does in their off-time.
The Root of Fatigue: Money
Yet Hughes recalls experiences that should make any nurse leader question their employees who work more than one job. She says she's seen everything from nurses who act surly toward patients to ones who fail to double-check medication labels. She even had a nurse who arrived to work a 12-hour day shift immediately after working a 12-hour night shift at another facility.
"I sent her home," Hughes says. "I would rather [work] short staffed than with a dangerously fatigued nurse."
So why do nurses tax themselves this way, especially when evidence shows that fatigue impairs function and decision-making?
"The most common reason is money," Hughes says. "We have single parents, persons trying to fund children's college tuition, persons trying to fund their own college tuition, persons who have not set back money for retirement and now are nearing retirement and trying to get money put aside"