Nov 25, 2011

How much time do nurses have for patients? A longitudinal study quantifying hospital nurses' patterns of task time distribution and interactions with health professionals

BMC Health Services Research
Johanna WestbrookNerida Creswick

Abstract

Time nurses spend with patients is associated with improved patient outcomes, reduced errors, and patient and nurse satisfaction. Few studies have measured how nurses distribute their time across tasks. We aimed to quantify how nurses distribute their time across tasks, with patients, in individual tasks, and engagement with other health care providers; and how work patterns changed over a two year period. Prospective observational study of 57 nurses for 191.3 hours (109.8 hours in 2005/2006 and 81.5 in 2008), on two wards in a teaching hospital in Australia. The validated Work Observation Method by Activity Timing (WOMBAT) method was applied. Proportions of time in 10 categories of work, average time per task, time with patients and others, information tools used, and rates of interruptions and multi-tasking were calculated. Nurses spent 37.0%[95%CI: 34.5, 39.3] of their time with patients, which did not change in year 3 [35.7%; 95%CI: 33.3, 38.0]. Direct care, indirect care, medication tasks and professional communication together consumed 76.4% of nurses' time in year 1 and 81.0% in year 3. Time on direct and indirect care increased significantly (respectively 20.4% to 24.8%, P < 0.01;13.0% to 16.1%, P < 0.01). Proportion of...Continue Reading

  • References32
  • Citations93

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Nurse-Led Clinics
Nursing Methodological Issues Research
Management, Nursing Care
Observation - Diagnostic Procedure
Workload
Etiquette, Medical
Time and Motion Studies
Nurse-Patient Relations
Nursing Staff, Hospital
IGLL3P gene

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