Background: Major effects of shift schedule are related to sleep alertness and performance,
but also to long term health outcomes. For nurses, these negative effects have consequences not only on
the individual, but also on the workplace, as decreased alertness and reduced job performance could
endanger human lives.
Objective: The specific aim of our study is to assess the influence of shift schedule on nurses´ cognitive
ability and rapidity of execution.
Method: Our survey is a cross sectional study which had been conducted for 15 months; it involved a
sample of 293 participants representative of 1118 nurses working in two Tunisian university hospitals.
It included an evaluation of the rapidity of execution performance through the manual dexterity test and
the reaction time test. The study was completed by an assessment of the workability Index through a 7-
Results: No association was found between the groups of work schedules and the cognitive ability of
execution speed. However, we found a significant decrease in cognitive performance in the nurses exceeding
10 years of job seniority for both schedules.
Conclusion: We concluded to an impaired cognitive performance speed in the over 10-year seniority
groups in both schedules. Recommendations should be focused on implementing periodic assessment
of cognitive performance based on O'Connor finger dexterity test and time reaction test and on implementing
effective preventive measures in hospitals after ten years of seniority at work.