Nurses' Short-Term Sickness Absences Before and After the Implementation of a Brief Napping Opportunity During Night Shifts

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Workplace health & safety




hospital; missed work; nap; nurses; sickness absence; work schedule tolerance


BACKGROUND: Nurses who work at night have used naps to alleviate their sleepiness and fatigue. Research has shown night shifts, sleepiness, and fatigue predict nurses' missed workdays. Thus, nighttime napping may have a beneficial consequence of reducing nurses' sickness absences. The purpose of this brief report was to describe the difference in rates of short-term sickness absence before and after implementation of a 30-min nap opportunity in one U.S. hospital for 12-hr shift nurses. METHODS: The study was a retrospective pre-post evaluation design. Eight units provided nap opportunities for the nurses. Full-time nurses were classified into night and rotating shifts based on their 2 years of scheduling patterns. Absence data were extracted from the hospital's timekeeping system and annual absence rates were computed. A single linear mixed model with rank transformed data was conducted for each group. Median estimates, minimum and maximum, and -values were reported. FINDINGS: The median absence rates for night shift nurses were 4.3% and 4.0% for the pre-napping and post-napping implementation periods, respectively; however, this difference was not statistically significant ( = .241). The median absence rates for rotating shift nurses were 2.0% and 3.9% for the pre-napping and post-napping implementation periods, respectively; and the difference increase was statistically significant ( .001). CONCLUSION/APPLICATION TO PRACTICE: A nap policy which provides nurses with the opportunity to take nighttime naps did not benefit their sickness absence rates. Future research needs to examine the actual napping process on sickness absences, as well as explore other sickness management avenues.