Care and NonCare‑Related Activities among Critical Care Nurses: A Cross‑Sectional Observational Time and Motion Study

Document Type : Original Article



Background: Measurement of nursing activities is used for workload assessment, performance evaluation, and workforce management. Objectives: This study aimed to measure care and noncare‑related activities among critical care nurses and to determine their contributing factors. Methods: This cross‑sectional observational study was conducted from July to September 2017. All care and noncare‑related activities of 70 critical care nurses in a public university hospital in Kashan, Iran, were assessed through the time and motion technique. Each nurse was observed throughout a 6‑h morning shift. Data were collected using a nurse and patient characteristics questionnaire and care and noncare‑related activities checklist. The paired and the independent‑samples t‑test, Mann–Whitney U‑test, Kruskal–Wallis tests, and the one‑way analysis of variance were used for data analysis. Results: The duration of nurses’ care‑related activities (249.10 ± 65.00 min, i.e., 69.2% of a 6‑h shift) was significantly more than the duration of their noncare‑related activities (111.00 ± 48.30 min, i.e., 30.8% of a 6‑h shift). Respecting care‑related activities, participants spent 53.5% of their time on direct care and the rest 46.5% on indirect care; whereas respecting noncare‑related activities, they spent 76.5% of their time on personal activities (such as making personal calls) and the rest 23.5% on unit related tasks. The duration of nurses’ activities had significant relationships with their unit, nurse– patient ratio, and patients’ age, gender, and diagnosis. Conclusion: Critical care nurses spend their time mostly on care‑related than noncare‑related activities. Closer managerial supervision of nurses’ activities, in‑service educations about effective time management, and determination of the optimum nurse–patient ratio and the best task division schedule are needed to reduce nurses’ workload, improve care quality, and enhance patient satisfaction