Study on how medical/surgical nursing staff spend their time

The use of clinical nursing staff time is an important issue in overall satisfaction and retention, as well as patient safety. However, according to numerous time and motion studies, less than 20 to 30 percent of budgeted nursing hours per patient day (NHPPD) can be correlated to direct care delivery. Gaining further insight into the black box of what keeps nurses from their patients is important to addressing the current shortage of nurses. This grant provides partial support for a multisite study to collect data rapidly from diverse medical-surgical units that quantify the impact of numerous interrelated environmental variables upon NHPPD when direct and indirect nursing time is measured. This will be the largest, multisite time and motion study ever reported in the literature. The study will contribute significantly to the body of knowledge on adequate nurse-to-patient ratios, nursing unit layout, and the potential of improvement efforts targeted at reducing the amount of wasted nursing time. The project will be considered successful if: (1) the study determines how nurses actually spend their time; (2) an impact of a partial or full electronic medical record upon available NHPPD is determined; and (3) a prototype of an ideally run medical-surgical unit is designed based on study evidence. Hospitals involved in this study will contribute up to 75 percent of the funding for this project.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $300,000.00

Awarded on: 1/25/2005

Time frame: 2/1/2005 - 6/30/2006

Grant Number: 52095


Ascension Health

4600 Edmundson Road
Saint Louis, 63134-3806


Ann L. Hendrich
Project Director