How nursing staff spend their time on activities in a nursing home: an observational study
AIM: This article is a report of a study to examine how nursing staff spend their time on activities in a nursing home. BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated how nursing staff spend their time on activities in a nursing home. Such information is important for nurse managers in deciding on staff deployment, and for evaluating the effects of changes in nursing practice. METHOD: A work sampling study with an observational component was undertaken in 2009 with nursing staff at a nursing home. RESULTS: A total of 430 activities were recorded for Registered Nurses, 331 for Endorsed Enrolled Nurses, 5276 for Personal Carers, and 501 for Recreational Activity Officers. Registered Nurses spent 48·4% of their time on communication and 18·1% on medication management. Endorsed Enrolled Nurses spent 37·7% on communication and 29·0% on documentation tasks. Communication was the most time-consuming activity for Recreational Activity Officers and Personal Carers, except that Personal Carers in a high care house spent more time on direct care duties. Hygiene duties and resident interaction were more frequently multitasked by the nursing staff in high care than in low care house. CONCLUSION: Nursing staff value their face-to-face interaction for successful care delivery. There is need, however, to investigate the effects of this form of communication on quality of care given to residents. Differences in multi-tasked activities between high care and low care houses should be considered when deploying staff in a nursing home.