Survey: Nurses spending up to one quarter of time on indirect patient care

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Survey: Nurses spending up to one quarter of time on indirect patient care

Next time your nursing staff members complain about having too much paperwork and not enough time at the patient’s bedside, you can tell them their feelings are echoed by nurses nationwide, as shown by a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by Jackson Healthcare, an Alpharetta, GA–based healthcare staffing and management company, found that between 73% and 75% of nurses spend one-quarter of a 12-hour shift on indirect patient care services. The top reasons for being pulled away from patient care include:

  • Documenting information in multiple locations
  • Completing logs, checklists, and other unnecessary paperwork/data collection
  • Filling out regulatory documentation
  • Entering/reviewing orders
  • Walking to equipment/supply areas, utility rooms, etc.

“Nurses are being taken away from the patient’s bedside by non-patient activities,” Bob Schlotman, chief marketing officer at Jackson Healthcare, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, due to the regulatory nature of healthcare, we know that some of these redundancies won’t go away. However, the good news is methodology, in the form of process improvements, and adaptive technology now exists to help minimize and manage these frustrations for our nurses.”

More than 1,600 hospital-based nurses were part
of the online survey, which was conducted with help from StatCom and Travel Nurse Solutions. The survey targeted nurses, nurse managers, and chief nursing officers. 

Those who took the survey indicated that some solutions for reducing time spent away from the patient include:

  • Ancillary staff support
  • Hospitalwide communication technology
  • Reductions in redundant regulatory requirements

Some other key differences in perception between chief nursing officers and frontline caregiver nurses were established by the survey. For example, chief nursing officers are more likely to rate an absence of clear communication as having a larger effect on patient care than bedside nurses. Chief nursing officers are also more concerned with the flow and coordination of patient care than bedside nurses, according to the survey. However, bedside nurses are more likely to perceive a staff shortage and feel overworked; they are also more likely to want additional support staff.