Introduction: The operation of health services on a 24-hour basis, forces the medical and nursing personnel to work in a rotating shift system and on – call times. This often causes disruption and disorganization of the biorhythms of health professionals.
Purpose: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore whether and to what extent the rotating shift system and on-call times of the health professionals is associated with sleeping habits, health behaviors, perceived stress and satisfaction experienced from their working schedule, which affect family and social relations, cooperation and performance in the workplace.
Sample-Method: The sample of the study consisted of 352 employees (135 physicians and 217 nurses) of two general hospitals in Greece. From April to June 2012 they completed a questionnaire that included: a) questions about demographic characteristics, health behaviors and about perceived stress and job satisfaction and b) «Circadian Type Inventory» (CTI) regarding sleeping habits, which includes 30 questions grouped into two subscales of vigorousness and flexibility. Data were analyzed with the program SPSS, version 19.0.
Results: Ninety two per cent of participants worked in a rotating shift system and on – call times. Employees of rotating shift work system and on – call times experience greater stress – intensity (p = 0,006). Participants without a rotating shift work and on – call were more satisfied with working time (p <0,001) and leisure time spent (p <0,001). We did not find any statistically significant relationship between working system and smoking (p=0,4), consumption of coffee/tea (p=0,4) or alcohol (p=0,9). Finally, working hours were not significantly associated with BMI (p=0,2). CTI questionnaire showed that women had higher average rating of vigorousness than men (p=0,003), men had higher average rating of flexibility compared to women (p<0,001) and doctors compared with nurses (p=0,02) respectively.
Conclusions: Rotating shift system and on-call times affect specific areas of health professional’s lives. Health services should take necessary measures to reduce the negative effects, in order to ensure the health of medical and nursing staff and improve the quality of provided health services.
Keywords: health professionals, on call times, rotating shift system, health, sleep.