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Nurses Say Distractions Cut Bedside Time by 25%

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 9, 2010

Hospital nurses spend three hours of a typical 12-hour shift away from the patients' bedside to complete regulatory requirements, redundant paperwork, and other non-direct care, a recent online survey of more than 1,600 nurses shows.

Some of the biggest distractions and time eaters include documenting patient care information in multiple locations, and completing logs, checklists, and other "redundant" paperwork, the nurses said. They also reported wasted time trying to secure equipment and supplies.

The nationwide survey, conducted last fall for Jackson Healthcare, the Alpharetta, GA-based healthcare staffing and management company, targeted nurses, nursing managers, and CNOs. It was conducted with StatCom and Travel Nurse Solutions, and was based upon the online responses from 1,663 hospital nurses.

"Nurses are being taken away from the patient's bedside by non-patient activities. Unfortunately, due to the regulatory nature of healthcare, we know that some of these redundancies won't go away," said Jackson Healthcare CMO Bob Schlotman.

"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."

The survey found a number of differences between CNOs and front-line nurses. CNOs were more concerned with the coordination of patient care, whereas nurses felt overworked and in need of additional staff support, the survey showed.

The front-line nurses said ancillary staff support, hospital-wide communications technology, and reductions in redundant regulatory requirements could alleviate the distractions and time away from patient, the survey showed.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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