It’s reassuring knowing our hospital and emergency workers are on call 24-7 but what about the cost to their own health?
Research from the University of Southern Queensland and Griffith University shows it’s considerable and shift workers need support to carry on providing the vital services we rely on in times of need.
The study found they had a 28 per cent increased likelihood of adverse mental health outcomes, especially depression.
Researcher Dr Tracy Kolbe-Alexander says working outside the standard hours of 7am to 6pm can have a range of negative consequences.
“Sleeping at odd times of the day, together with shifting schedules, creates challenges for maintaining healthy work-life balance,” she says.
“Opportunities for family, social and leisure activities are constrained, potentially leading to social isolation.
“Also, altered sleep patterns due to shift work have been associated with irritability, depressed mood, anxiety and nervousness.”
The research recommends various measures to help shift workers cope, including opportunities for exercise, improved nutrition, better sleep and greater autonomy at work.
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