From the American Journal of Critical Care:
Hospital patients would be devastated to hear that their nurses later regretted the decisions they made while caring for them. Critical care patients are especially at risk because the decisions nurses can make are likely to have more impact. However, this January, 2014 study shows fatigued nurses are more likely to make decisions they later regret, which leads negative emotions, nurse burnout, and nurse turnover rate.
Nurses frequently report fatigue from staffing situations where there are too many patients for each nurse to care for at one time. Nurses are then asked to extend their shifts-even if they’ve already worked 12 hours-or come in again for a new shift while still fatigued from their last one.
The study method involved asking 605 nurses, and decision regret was reported by 157 of 546 (29%). Nurses with decision regret reported more fatigue, more daytime sleepiness, less inter-shift recovery, and worse sleep quality than did nurses without decision regret. Being male, working a 12-hour shift, and clinical-decision satisfaction were significantly associated with decision regret
Nurses who experience impairments due to fatigue, loss of sleep, and inability to recover between shifts are more likely than unimpaired nurses to report decision regret. This study was also reported in the Nursing Times.