Imperial Health at Work
Knowledge base

Night workers outline

24 hour work is a fundamental and unavoidable fact of NHS services. Many roles across the Trust require staff to work a variety of shifts so patients receive the highest standards of care, regardless of the time of day. It’s something we’re proud to offer, but shift work doesn’t suit everyone, meaning we need to be adaptable to the needs of our employees. While some staff have health conditions that may be adversely affected by night work, others without underlying conditions simply can’t adapt to working these shifts – meaning that for some, night work simply isn’t suitable.

However, for most people – even those who are pregnant or have health conditions – night shifts are compatible, as long as individuals are carefully monitored. Managers are required to offer their employees a health check before their first night is scheduled and periodically during night work employment – and if their health status changes, an additional check might be useful.

Of course, adaptation to shift work can take time and may require a strict routine that can be termed 'sleep hygiene'. This will ensure the body is best physically and psychologically prepared for a restful and restorative sleep after night work.




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