Night Shift Nurses at Increased Risk

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 26th, 2015

While working the night shift has been previously associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, a new study also links it to mortality.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that women working rotating night shifts for five years or more appeared to have a modest increase in all-cause mortality and fatal cardiovascular disease. The study also found that women with 15 years or more of rotating night shift work appeared to have a modest increase in lung cancer mortality.

Nurse Care The study focused on nearly 75,000 registered U.S. nurses, and analyzed 22 year’s worth of follow-up data compiled by the Nurses’ Health Study. Mortality from all causes appeared to be 11 percent higher with 6 to 14 years of rotating night shift work, and death from cardiovascular disease appeared to be between 19 and 23 percent higher.

While the researchers found no association between rotating shift work and any cancer mortality, they did find a 25 percent increase risk for lung cancer in those who worked a rotating night shift for 15 or more years.

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