Introduction: Rotating shifts as well as night work are responsible for the deregulation of the circadian rhythm that causes changes of the hormonal system manifested with symptoms associated with cardiovascular and the gastrointestinal system, as well as sleep disturbances, intense fatigue, emotional distress and stress.
Aim: To investigate the overall physical and mental health of the nursing staff that works rotating shifts and the factors that burden them.
Materials and Method: The cross-sectional study used scales of The Standard Shiftwork Index Questionaire that were completed by 100 nurses of the General Hospital of Kavala that work rotating shifts. The data analysis was done using the 21st version of the SPSS Program.
Results : Data results showed increased cognitive and physical stress of the nursins staff that worked rotating shifts, which were manifested by cardiovascular and gastrointestinal symptoms (p<0.001). The shift work triggers habits such as smoking (mean difference=10.69, p=0.01), bad nutrition (mean difference=0.933, p<0.001), obesity (40.48 % were overweight and 17.86 % were obese), increased consumption of alcohol and caffeine (mean difference= 0.933, p<0.001). Nurses over 40 years old and with more than 15 years of work experience were more burdened.
Conclusion : Shift work increases the nursing staff's stress resulting in burdened physical and mental health. Arithmetic abundance of nurses to patients would mean better work programs, health protection and more efficient and effective health systems.