Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


Pilcher, June

Committee Member

Switzer , Fred

Committee Member

Britt , Thomas

Committee Member

McCubbin , James


Some previous research has focused on better understanding factors that influence nurses' decision-making; however, previous research has not used policy-capturing as a methodology to examine the impact of fatigue on registered nurses' decision-making. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether the fatigue of working a 12-hour day shift influenced a sample of registered nurses' decision-making. Participants consisted of 69 registered nurses working a 12-hour day shift from 7 AM to 7 PM at a large southeastern hospital. The participants completed a general questionnaire and a policy-capturing questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of a 12-hour day shift. Data analyses indicated that participants did not maintain their judgment policies from the beginning to the end of the work shift. Additionally, participants made 'simpler' decisions both pre-shift and post-shift and became significantly sleepier, more stressed, and less alert from the beginning to the end of the work shift. These results, combined with previous research, suggest that the fatigue nurses experienced from working a 12-hour day shift was one factor that significantly contributed to their inconsistent judgment policies. This finding expands upon previous research indicating there are a variety of negative outcomes associated with 12-hour shifts and that these shifts may not be best for nurses or their patients.