Fatigue

Fatigue is a common part of life’s strains as we all try to juggle our work/life balance. It is important that the fellows-in-training, the faculty and staff are aware of the symptoms of fatigue that could lead to a risk of improper patient care in errors of commission and omission and also harm to oneself due to inattention, degraded judgement, poor motor skills and exhaustion.

Situations that lend themselves to fatigue:

  • Abrupt changes in work schedule
  • Extended call beyond the normal wake-sleep cycle
  • Challenging work conditions (i.e. busy service, complex patients)
  • Changes in home life (marriage, divorce, new child, financial difficulties, etc)
  • Inadequate rest

You might be fatigued if you are experiencing the following:

Physical Symptoms

  • Frequent, unexplained headaches
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Blurred/double vision
  • Burning urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drifting/nodding off to sleep
  • Emotional liability
  • Poor Work Performance

Mental Symptoms

  • Attention narrowing
  • Easily distracted
  • Reduced performance standards
  • Feelings of depression
  • Impaired judgement
  • Poor visual perception
  • Expanded tolerance limits (willing to settle
  • for less)

You might see the following in someone who is fatigued:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Degraded motor skills
  • Tenseness and tremors
  • Intolerant/irritable
  • Decrease reaction time

Mental Symptoms:

  • Absentmindedness
  • Reduced short-term memory
  • Lack of interest and drive
  • Confused and fearful
  • Decreased startle response
  • Worried and anxious
  • Social withdrawal
  • Easily distracted
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