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Linsey Steege, PhD, a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) School of Nursing, has announced a new study on nurse stress and fatigue, which will ultimately improve nurses’ health. Steege will use Fitbits to track the activities of selected nurses throughout the day, gathering data on their steps, heart rate, and sleep to identify factors that cause fatigue and stress in this vital care provider population.

Steege tells, “I became interested in focusing on how to improve how we support nurses so that they in turn can be safe and provide the highest quality patient care. But when I looked around, there was a lot of research on physical fatigue and sleep deprivation for medical residents, but much less on how nursing work is contributing to fatigue and how fatigue is contributing to stress, burnout, and worst of all, medical error.”

Data can positively impact how we care for ourselves and Steege wants to use data to help nurses understand what contributes to their fatigue. She also wants to collect data on the nurse’s work environment, including noise levels, pages and calls, time spent navigating the hospital’s electronic health record platform, nurse movement patterns, shift staffing reports, and more.

Steege has found that hospitals tend to focus on patient safety while not considering nurse safety and wellbeing at the same time. If health systems don’t account for the burden of fatigue on their nurses, medical errors, turnover, and costs increase. Hospitals have used data to improve workflow in the past, but now they can also look at individual health data and look for specific triggers that cause provider fatigue and stress.

To learn more about new research from Linsey Steege, a nursing professor at UW-Madison who is using Fitbit data to identify factors that cause nurse fatigue and stress, visit here.

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