Analyzing what nurses do during work in a hospital setting: a feasibility study using video.

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Analyzing what nurses do during work in a hospital setting: a feasibility study using video.

Work. 2012;43(4):515-23

Authors: Fiedler KM, Weir PL, van Wyk PM, Andrews DM


OBJECTIVE: Patient transfers have been implicated as a contributing factor in the high work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) rate in nursing. However, documenting how much time is spent doing such tasks, compared to other less biomechanically stressful tasks in the workplace, has been limited, and not performed to date using a video-based approach. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of documenting all job-related nursing tasks performed during a typical shift in a hospital setting using video.

PARTICIPANTS: Ten female nurses from an acute care hospital who worked in different units and during all three shifts.

METHODS: Nurses working in different units of the hospital were videotaped performing their normal job-related tasks for a 2 hour period. Video records were subsequently analyzed to identify and categorize all tasks performed by each nurse.

RESULTS: Overall, nurses spent less than 7% of their time during patient moving and transfer activities. One third of their time was spent walking, standing and sitting, 19.8% charting, 14.7% in patient care, 13.9% preparing medicines, 9.5% in housekeeping, and about 3% in self-care.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that video-based methods are feasible for documenting what nurses do in the workplace. It also highlighted the diversity and non-repetitive nature of the workplace tasks nurses perform and suggests that ergonomic assessments of the cumulative effects of work on nurses in the field should focus on more than just patient handling activities.

PMID: 22927611 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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