EMS Clinicians Can Combat Fatigue

August 24, 2015    |   By: Calevir

EMS clinicians are highly susceptible to fatigue due to long shifts, stress, and other sleep-impacting issues and the Center for Patient Safety recognizes fatigue is a causal factor for many clinician and patient-related events in EMS.  There is a way to combat fatigue through cultural improvements including the adoption of fatigue management policies.

A recent article in EMS1.com reviews evidence-supported countermeasures for fatigue among EMS providers.  Countermeasures include adequate sleep, naps/rest breaks, physical exercise, reduced caffeine consumption, and engage in mental exercise.  The article suggests, “[a]dministration should adopt a process that promotes reporting fatigue without fear of penalty or reprisal. A process for investigation of events potentially related to fatigue is important for evaluation and improvement.”

Interested in adopting a culture that supports and encourages the reporting of errors? 

Learn more about Just Culture or read the “Strategy for a National EMS Culture of Safety” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) EMS for Children (EMSC) Program, and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).


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The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.