Objectives Approximately one-fourth of health care personnel in hospitals work in non-traditional hours (shift work), making this an important concern for those employed in healthcare. The present study aimed at assessing the relation between shift work pattern and oxidative stress status in female nursing staff.
Methods This cross-sectional study was carried out at Suez Canal University hospital in Ismailia governorate; Egypt, and involved two groups of female nurses; 65 nurses representing the shift group and 67 non-shift nurses. Nurses were subjected to a self-administered questionnaire to assess socio-demographic data, lifestyle aspects and occupational data, including shift work characteristics. Also, plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was measured as a biomarker of oxidative stress status.
Results Participants’ age ranged from 19 to 29 years (mean; 22.15 ± 1.7 years) with no statistically significant difference between shift-workers and non-shift workers. The mean duration of employment was longer among shift workers compared to non-shift workers (4.25 ± 1.8 vs. 3.45 ± 1.4, p = 0.006). More than half (52.3%) of shift nursing staff depend on fast food during their work shift time. Total plasma antioxidant capacity (TAC) was lower among shift-work group than non-shift group (1.59 ± 1.29 vs. 1.85 ± 0.95 mmol/L); with statistically significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.001). “Irregular roster” shift pattern (OR = 9.75; 95% CI = 1.35–70.24, p = 0.024) and consequent days-off less than 2 days (OR = 1.49; 95% CI = 1.01–2.2, p = 0.043) were the main predictors for oxidative stress status change among shift-work nurses.
Conclusions Shift work can act as an oxidative stressor. A special dietary regimen including antioxidant agents, such as vitamins, may be beneficial to shift workers. Proper scheduling of shift pattern should be done for workers’ health protection.