Registered Nurses' Experiences Taking Breaks on Night Shift: A Qualitative Analysis.

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Workplace Health Saf


washington; spokane; PSHMC


BACKGROUND: Fatigue mitigation strategies among night shift workers can include deliberate use of restful work breaks, taking naps, and consuming caffeine. However, nurses have frequently reported missing break opportunities, and the rationale for missed breaks remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to describe and interpret the lived experience of hospital night shift nurses taking breaks and the meaning of this phenomenon as it relates to the workplace.

METHODS: Registered nurses (

FINDINGS: Identified themes about the breaks included (a) breaks are a time to eat, (b) breaks are inconsistently supported by unit-level structures and processes, and (c) breaks are a luxury, not a right.

CONCLUSIONS/APPLICATIONS TO PRACTICE: Nurses in this study reported an absence of consistent and restorative breaks. Organizations should analyze gaps within systems and processes to optimize a consistent, restorative nature of the break experience among nurses working night shift.