A time-and-motion study was conducted in response to perceptions that the surgical nursing staff at a Montreal hospital was spending an excessive amount of time on non-nursing care. A sample of 30 nurse shifts was observed by trained observers who timed nurses' activities for their entire working shift using a hand-held Personal Digital Assistant. Activities were grouped into four main categories: direct patient care, indirect patient care, non-nursing and personal activities. Break and meal times were excluded from the denominator of total worked hours. A total of 201 working hours were observed, an average of 6 hours, 42 minutes per nurse shift. The mean proportions of each nurse shift spent on the main activity categories were: direct care 32.8%, indirect care 55.7%, non-nursing tasks 9.0% and personal 2.5%. Three activities (communication among health professionals, medication verification/preparation and documentation) comprised 78.9% of indirect care time. Greater time on indirect care was associated with work on night shifts and on the short-stay surgical unit. Subsequent work reorganization focused on reducing time spent on communication and medications. The authors conclude that time-and-motion studies are a useful method of monitoring appropriate use of nursing staff, and may provide results that assist in restructuring nursing tasks.
Be the first to comment on this!
This article is for subscribers only. To view the entire article
Note: Please enter a display name. Your email address will not be publically displayed