Emergency nurses’ physical activity and sedentary time during early, late and night shifts.

Miss Stephanie E Chappel1, Associate Professor Brad Aisbett1, Professor Julie Considine2,3, Dr Nicola D Ridgers1
1Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, , , 2Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, School of Nursing and Midwifery and Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research, , , 3Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research – Eastern Health Partnership, Box Hill, Australia

Introduction: It has been suggested that nurses need interventions to increase their physical activity (PA) levels, yet studies often fail to assess occupational activity. This study aims to explore emergency nurses PA during early, late and night shifts, and how their occupational PA contributes to meeting the national PA guidelines.
Methods: Emergency nurses (n=48; 90% female) were recruited from three Melbourne hospitals. PA was objectively measured using ActiGraph accelerometers. Shift times and typical duties on shift were collected using a work diary. Time spent sedentary and in PA intensities during and within hourly periods of a shift across a two week period were calculated using validated cut-points. Differences between activity levels by age and emergency nursing experience were calculated using independent t-tests.
Results: On average, nurses spent the majority of their shifts sedentary (67.32%). Moderate-intensity PA accounted for 5.24% of a shift. This equated to an average of 24 minutes of moderate-intensity PA during work (80% recommended daily guideline). Sedentary time typically peaked at the beginning of the shift and decreased towards the end of a shift. Moderate-intensity PA levels were consistent across early and late shifts, but tended to fluctuate across night shifts. Overall, older nurses (40 years and over) were significantly more sedentary, and more experienced nurses (10 years and over) engaged in more light-intensity PA.
Conclusions: Whilst the majority of an emergency nurses’ shift is spent sedentary, they did accumulate up to 80% of their daily moderate-intensity PA in one shift. Activity levels during night shifts tended to fluctuate more than early and late shifts, which may reflect the differences in the duties performed during these shifts. Future research should explore why the differences in on-shift sedentary time and light-intensity PA for older and more experienced nurses, respectively, occurred.

Ms Stephanie Chappel is a current PhD candidate at Deakin University and is currently in her second year. Stephanie completed her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science (Honours) in 2015 at Deakin University on ‘Firefighters Physical Activity across Multiple Shifts of Planned Burn Work’, published in 2016. Her PhD thesis will be looking at nurses’ on-shift physical activity levels, with a particular focus on emergency nursing, and last year she published ‘Nurses’ occupational physical activity levels: A systematic review’. Stephanie has also been involved in several other research projects in player monitoring, and the physicality of SES workers and nurses.