Background: Rotating shift schedules are a common practice in healthcare occupations, specifically in nursing where there is a growing concern about the impact of intermittent and lengthy work hours on nurses’ cognition and performance.
Methods: Twenty nurses working rotating shifts (8-hr days and 12-hr rotations) will be randomized to either the computerized remediation program, Sagacity, or to the control group. The neurocognitive training consists of 20 sessions (40min.) within 10 weeks. Participants will be assessed for neurocognitive improvement formally at baseline, week 5 (mid-point) and week 10 (final session). The outcome measures used to assess the effectiveness of the intervention will be Shift Work Disorder Questionnaire, Insomnia Severity Index, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and the Processing Speed and Working memory Index from WAIS.
Results: The purpose of this pilot study is to examine how much change in cognitive abilities will be observed in subjects who received cognitive remediation. A second analysis will consist of examining changes in shift work disorder symptoms such as depression, insomnia, sleepiness, anxiety, and quality of life occurred between the assessment times. We do not expect both groups to differ at baseline. We hypothesize that the cognitive remediation group will show improvement in cognitive abilities at week 5 a continued improvement across all assessment points.
Conclusions: Future studies using computerized cognitive remediation training programs can further enhance our understanding of the impact of rotating shift work on neurocognition and other physical health related issues.