Exploring nurse leader fatigue: a mixed methods study

Authors: Steege L.M., Pinekenstein B.J., Arsenault Knudsen É. & Rainbow J.G.

Source: Nursing Management
First published: 27 February 2017
DOI: 10.1111/jonm.12464

Aim: To describe hospital nurse leaders’ experiences of fatigue.
Background: Fatigue is a critical challenge in nursing. Existing literature focuses on staff nurse fatigue, yet nurse leaders are exposed to high demands that may contribute to fatigue and associated risks to patient, nurse and organisational outcomes.
Methods: A mixed method approach comprising semi-structured interviews and the Occupational Fatigue Exhaustion Recovery scale with 21 nurse administrators (10 nurse managers and 11 nurse executives) from hospitals in a Midwestern state.
Results: Most nurse leaders experience fatigue; nurse managers reported higher levels of chronic fatigue.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of nurse leader fatigue could impact the turnover intent of nurse administrators and quality of care.
Implications for nursing management: This study highlights the significance and consequences of nurse leader fatigue. As health care organisations continue to raise awareness and establish systems to reduce nurse fatigue, policies and programmes must be adapted to address nurse leader fatigue.

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