Managing Fatigue in Nursing: Insights from Dr. Lois James’s Research

Dr. Lois James, speaking at the Washington State Nurses Convention, May 2023.
Dr. Lois James, speaking at the Washington State Nurses Convention, May 2023.

Dr. Lois James, PhD, delivered an insightful presentation on the pervasive issue of fatigue in the nursing profession at the Washington State Nurses Convention, held at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center from May 17-19, 2023. Her talk focused on the detrimental impact of fatigue on both nurses’ well-being and the quality of patient care. As an esteemed researcher and Assistant Dean for Research at the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing, Dr. James has dedicated her expertise to investigating the effects of sleep loss, fatigue, and stress on the performance and safety of shift workers, with a particular emphasis on nurses.

In her presentation, Dr. James drew upon her extensive research and notable achievements in the field. One study that she referenced was published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, titled “Sleep health and predicted cognitive effectiveness of nurses working 12-hour shifts: an observational study”. This study examined the effects of sleep restriction and fatigue in shift-work leads to errors, accidents, and adverse long-term health outcomes for nurses.

Additionally, Dr. James discussed her own research on fatigue and performance, which has been published in various academic journals. Nursing Reports, Vol. 13, No. 1 included “Examining the Impact of Fatigue on Nursing Performance: An Integrative Review“. This paper explores the impact of fatigue on nursing performance through an integrative review of existing literature. This comprehensive analysis concluded that consecutive 12-hour night shifts may pose a significant driving safety risk to nurses.

As an Assistant Dean for Research and a highly regarded expert in her field, Dr. Lois James continues to make significant contributions to the understanding of fatigue, sleep loss, and performance in shift workers. Her research not only informs best practices but also advocates for the well-being of healthcare professionals, ultimately striving for a safer and more effective healthcare system.