Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)




Rotating shift work is an unavoidable, integral aspect of nursing at a large hospital in the Midwest; however, the fatigue involved in rotating shift work is avoidable. Research has shown how fatigue related to rotating shifts can impact nurses and ultimately affect patients. Fatigue caused by rotating shift work has been proven to decrease nurses’ levels of alertness and vigilance, which directly correlates to higher incidences of errors with patients. In addition, nurses who work rotating shifts have been proven to have problems with psycho-physical health, biological functions, and social relationships. It is through an understanding of the risks related to rotating shift work and the application of Watson’s Caring concepts and Caritas Processes that nurses have the opportunity to explore strategies to combat the associated negative effects. This exploration of strategies led to a search for options to design a three week schedule that allows for sufficient recovery time between rotating shifts for nurses who work on a medical, surgical, progressive care unit. The creation of a healthy work schedule was based on nurses’ feedback and an understanding of the institutional scheduling procedural guidelines. Ultimately the goal is to create a schedule that allocates time for nurses to customize self-care habits and routines that nurtures self in order to serve others.


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