Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The number of hours worked per individual has long been limited by the law in many professional industries. Recent increases in the incidence of medical and diagnostic errors related to fatigue has led to an increased interest in health care worker fatigue. For human beings, functioning on a 24-hour basis poses unique physiological challenges. Acknowledging and managing these challenges can promote performance, productivity, and safety in 24-hour operations. Ignoring these factors can lead to decrements in human capability and to the potential for incidents and accidents that can result in tremendous societal and individual costs. Long duty hours, reduced sleep periods with limited recovery time, and shift work all contribute to impairments in physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning. Fatigue affects a healthcare provider's personal health and well-being, patient health and safety, performance of job-related tasks, and professionalism. As the incidence of medical errors due to fatigue increases, it is important to educate medical professionals on the effects of fatigue and measures that can be used to prevent or treat fatigue.

Information regarding the impact of fatigue and countermeasures to prevent fatigue in medical professionals will be gathered using a systematic literature review and published case studies. The areas of focus will include sleep cycles, the effects on provider and patient health, and ways to manage sleep loss and fatigue both for the healthcare provider and among management personnel.

The goal of this independent project is to provide information to currently practicing medical professionals in an attempt to increase the awareness of fatigue among the healthcare field. Primarily focusing on Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and Student Registered Nurse Anesthetists this project will be used to increase the knowledge base on how to prevent or treat fatigue that may lead to serious medical errors affecting healthcare provider and patient safety.