The editorial “Napping on the Night Shift: Slacker or Savior?” in the December issue (2008;28:12–14, 16, 18–19) was absolutely resounding. Not often are the perils of the off shift recognized. As a 12-year veteran of night work in a critical care area, there have been many instances in which my quality of care may have been compromised due to fatigue. Instead of placing blame on the employee, a staunch look at physiology and the natural consequence of circadian rhythm disturbance is needed.

Employees who work nights struggle to balance work, sleep, and personal needs. Evidence shows that shift workers have poorer quality sleep and struggle with sleep deprivation, which results in sleepiness on the job, a setup for lapses in performance. It is not surprising that medication errors and needle stick injuries have also been found to be more prevalent at night. In...

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