Optimal nurse scheduling based on quantitative models of work-related fatigue

Rung Chuan Lin, Mustafa Y. Sir, Esra Sisikoglu, Kalyan Pasupathy, Linsey M. Steege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Previous nurse scheduling models have mainly focused on managerial constraints to minimize costs. Although some models incorporate nurse preferences and safety guidelines, human factors considerations related to performance of nurses (fatigue) have not been studied extensively. Fatigue has been linked to nursing injuries and medical errors, and shown to be impacted by schedule-related parameters (shift length). Thus, the objective of this article was to develop a nurse scheduling model incorporating quantitative models of fatigue. This model can help a nurse manager to make schedule-related decisions by highlighting trade-offs among many (conflicting) objectives including nurse shift preferences and nurse fatigue levels obtained from two different fatigue models, namely survey-based and circadian function-based fatigue models. The data used in the numerical experiments were obtained from real patient census data and various surveys of nurses working in different hospitals across the United States. Numerical results show that it is possible to obtain Pareto-optimal schedules where the nurse fatigue levels are significantly reduced for a slight decrement in nurse preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalIIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Nurse scheduling
  • multi-objective optimization
  • work-related fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimal nurse scheduling based on quantitative models of work-related fatigue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this