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Structure of the Working Time of Nurses in Emergency Departments in Polish Hospitals

Authors: Jadwiga Klukow, Anna Ksykiewicz-Dorota


An analysis of the distribution of nurses’ working time constitutes vital information for the management in planning employment. The objective of the study was to analyze the distribution of nurses’ working time in an emergency department. The study was conducted in an emergency department of a teaching hospital in Lublin, in Southeast Poland. The catalogue of activities performed by nurses was compiled by means of continuous observation. Identified activities were classified into four groups: Direct care, indirect care, coordination of work in the department and personal activities. Distribution of nurses’ working time was determined by work sampling observation (Tippett) at random intervals. The research project was approved by the Research Ethics Committee by the Medical University of Lublin (Protocol 0254/113/2010). On average, nurses spent 31% of their working time on direct care, 47% on indirect care, 12% on coordinating work in the department and 10% on personal activities. The most frequently performed direct care tasks were diagnostic activities – 29.23% and treatment-related activities – 27.69%. The study has provided information on the complexity of performed activities and utilization of nurses’ working time. Enhancing the effectiveness of nursing actions requires working out a strategy for improved management of the time nurses spent at work. Increasing the involvement of auxiliary staff and optimizing communication processes within the team may lead to reduction of the time devoted to indirect care for the benefit of direct care.

Keywords: Emergency nurses, nursing care, workload, work sampling.

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