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'Work away from the bedside matters too'

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There has been much discussion and indeed criticism of how much time nurses waste in form filling and with time-consuming documentation. Undoubtedly some of this time is unnecessary and some of the forms are just filed in a big black hole.

There has been much discussion and indeed criticism of how much time nurses waste in form filling and with time-consuming documentation. Undoubtedly some of this time is unnecessary and some of the forms are just filed in a big black hole.

But has this often-voiced criticism meant that all organisational work has been lumped in together as not being a good use of nurses’ time. In addition there has been a focus on the need for compassionate care since the Francis report and other reports highlighting poor care. While this is understandable does this mean that time spent at the bedside has become highly valued while time spent away is being seen of less value? Are staff at the nurses’ station being seen as ignoring patients and not doing their job at the bedside.

This week Nursing Times reports on a study of what hospital nurses actually do, which identifies that 70% of it constitutes “organising work”. And far from wasting time, this work keeps the system running and contributes to the outcomes of patient care.

The author of this study says the findings suggest that “very little happens inside healthcare that has not been influenced by a nurse” and that through their organising work nurses have a huge impact on service quality.

If you take a look at this fascinating study you will see nurses organisational work is divided into four related domains of practice: creating working knowledge, articulation, bed management and transfers of care.

As our expert author of this study concludes this invisible work and its significant impact on patient care and outcomes needs to be acknowledged. Nurses need help to ensure this work is done effectively and that the value of work away from the bedside is recognised.

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • HCSW

    We really like to complicate our life.. There is only one, natural, accurate and sensible way of keeping the notes. CHRONICLE
    Call it a life-blog, timeline,diary. We could argue, whether the GP should use a blue pen, consultant red, nurse black, OT/physios green, HSCW's a pencil. We can argue even more about microbiology strips: should these be glued or stapled.. Very, very few other forms should be attached to the single chronicle, TPR, Glucose levels. At the moment in a about 50 miles radius, within one geographic county, I have discovered 9 different admission packs (so far) and I bet there are thousands in the entire UK. For what? Let me remind you old Russian saying: "The more paper you use, the cleaner bum you will have."

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  • Nursing IS working at the bedside. If you don't like it go and do something else!

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