Chances are that you have done it at one time – increased your workload and put yourself, or your patient, at risk!

Longer hours, greater workloads, staff reductions: These and other factors contribute to stress in the workplace. A healthy workplace helps combat stress. For those who work shifts, stress is a constant.  It affects fatigue, safety, retention, and outcomes. Shift work disorder (SWD) is a circadian rhythm disorder.  About 20% of the U.S. workforce is involved in rotating shifts; their schedules are in direct conflict with the body’s normal rhythm. Thus, they experience difficulty adjusting to the diverse sleep and wake schedule. The consequences may be extreme and contribute to increased accidents, sick leave, irritability and even work-related errors. It is also a form of stress.

In a study– published in BMJ Open – the authors found the chances of a patient safety incident increased by up to about 30% if nurses’ workload went above “optimal” levels and the odds of a patient dying increased by about 40%.

Adding on programs, not saying no, assuming responsibility for more hours/shifts- these and more contribute to increased workload, greater stress levels, and the potential for errors. Think of yourself as a TEAM, and at the helm is YOU. Your TEAM has needs: The physical you needs nutrition, exercise and rest. The emotional you needs forgiveness, love and compassion, laughter, happiness, and joy. The mental you needs self-supportive attitudes, positive thoughts and self-image. The spiritual you needs inner calmness, openness to creativity, and trust. How do you function without the entire TEAM onboard. Is now the time to say no to greater workloads, and yes to greater safety and outcomes?