Nurses have one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Not only do they spend longer hours in the hospital than other health care workers, but their shifts also vary. While other employees have a typical 9-to-5 job, nurses have 12-hour shifts. Because of staffing shortages, they even need to work overtime. Working overtime and odd hours affects their circadian rhythms. They lack adequate rest and sleep but cannot do anything about it when on the job or on call. It is no wonder nurses experience extreme fatigue. They are tired and exhausted.
Fatigue puts their health at risk and affects their ability to provide a medical standard of health care to their patients. According to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, 88.5% of medical errors were caused by fatigue. That means nurses are at a higher risk of losing their professional license.
Why their professional license is at risk
A nurse must maintain a constant state of wakefulness and prudence on the job. They do medical tests and procedures that entail a high degree of astuteness. That is why they need a professional license to practice. These are ways fatigue can cause them to make a mistake and lose their license:
- Fatigue impairs their judgment
- Fatigue makes them more irritable and impatient
- Fatigue causes memory lapses
- Fatigue adversely affects their attention and focus
- Fatigue reduces their ability to react to emergency situations
Fatigue diminishes their overall mental and emotional faculties, and a single medical error can cause them to lose their professional license.
Protecting your license and your career
If you are a registered nurse in Pennsylvania, you know very well what fatigue feels like and how it can impact your career. Fortunately, there are ways you can defend yourself when you are facing disciplinary issues related to your license.