Aim: To investigate nursing work patterns in a neurology department in a Chinese hospital. Background: Knowledge of nursing work patterns is important for nursing management and work design, and for the evaluation of organizational process change associated with the introduction of an innovation. Methods: A time-and-motion method was used to observe 14 registered nurses’ (RNs’) work patterns in a neurology department in a Chinese hospital. Results: There were 147 hr of observation. Overall, the most time-consuming activities were verbal communication (28.5%) and documentation (28.3%), followed by indirect care (14.6%) and direct care (14%). Compared to support RNs, charge RNs spent 20% more time on documentation and 11% more time on verbal communication. Two-thirds of the observed activities had a duration of less than 40 s. Conclusions: Communication, in verbal and written forms, consumed more than half of the nursing time. Conversely, nurses only spent about a quarter of their worktime on preparation for care provision and direct care provision. This reflects the significant role and resource-consuming nature of communication to provide safe and quality care. Implications for Nursing Management: Communication methods need to be enhanced to improve nursing productivity. This may be achieved through the introduction of more effective nursing documentation methods.
- nursing work
- time and motion