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"how do we use the time?": An observational study measuring the task time distribution of nurses in psychiatric care
Region Skåne, SWE.
Malmö Högskola, SWE.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Health.
2019 (English)In: BMC Nursing, ISSN 1472-6955, E-ISSN 1472-6955, Vol. 18, no 1, article id 67Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The nurse's primary task in psychiatric care should be to plan for the patient's care in cooperation with the patient and spend the time needed to build a relationship. Psychiatric care nurses however claim that they lack the necessary time to communicate with patients. To investigate the validity of such claims, this time-motion study aimed at identifying how nurses working at inpatient psychiatric wards distribute their time between a variety of tasks during a working day. Methods: During the period of December 2015 and February 2016, a total of 129 h and 23 min of structured observations of 12 nurses were carried out at six inpatient wards at one psychiatric clinic in southern Sweden. Time, frequency of tasks and number of interruptions were recorded and analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: Administering drugs or medications accounted for the largest part of the measured time (17.5%) followed by indirect care (16%). Relatively little time was spent on direct care, the third largest category in the study (15.3%), while an unexpectedly high proportion of time (11.3%) was spent on ward related tasks. Nurses were also interrupted in 75% of all medication administering tasks. Conclusions: Nurses working in inpatient psychiatric care spend little time in direct contact with the patients and medication administration is interrupted very often. As a result, it is difficult to establish therapeutic relationships with patients. This is an area of concern for both patient safety and nurses' job satisfaction. © 2019 The Author(s).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central Ltd. , 2019. Vol. 18, no 1, article id 67
Keywords [en]
Nursing, Observational study, Psychiatry, Scandinavian and Nordic countries, Time and motion studies
National Category
Nursing Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-19092DOI: 10.1186/s12912-019-0386-3Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85077148703OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-19092DiVA, id: diva2:1384008
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open access

Available from: 2020-01-09 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2020-01-09

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