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A folk of the patient walked to the nurse’s station and complained why nurses are doing paper works instead of attending to the patients. If only the patients and their significant others knew that we, nurses don’t have a choice but to finish our clerical work aside from our nursing responsibilities.

senior lady patient alone in hospital ward
asian ethic elderly patient woman during cure in hospital ward

According to an article by Commins (2010) hospital nurses spend three hours of a typical 12-hour shift away from the patients’ bedside to complete regulatory requirements and other non-direct care, a recent online survey of more than 1,600 nurses.

What’s keeping the nurse away from patient’s bedside? Here are the top ten list:

1. Paper works… and a lot of paper works.

If it’s only possible to undergo mitosis during every shift, all nurses will definitely divide themselves so they could accomplish all required tasks. Unfortunately, we are just normal human beings. We need to manage our time doing bedside care and paper works. So if there are more paper works to accomplish, expect that we have less time to spend to our patients. I believe that this generation, nurses are doing more clerical work than actual caring.

2. Ancillary job

Collecting food trays, distributing linens, washing equipment, and almost everything are expected to be done by nurses. And they assume after all these ancillary jobs, nurses have enough time to spend interacting with patients.

Some hospital administrators believe that nurses can do everything. So they assign non-nursing work to nurses just to avoid unnecessary expenses for the hospital investors. However, this ancillary job is replacing the time that nurses are supposed to spend in educating their patients, or comforting the folks, or just simply building rapport to the clients.

3. Endless logs and checklist

On top of your nursing job checklist, here comes another sets of checklist which other departments of the hospital are asking you to comply.

4. Getting of medications and supplies

Procuring medications and supplies just take a few minutes or so, but let’s not remove the fact that it also consumes our precious time. There are some occasions when you are not quite lucky, and you encounter pharmacist or central supply dispenser that are very, very slothful slow… then probably it will take you half an hour to get what you needed.

5. Long endorsement

Don’t get me wrong! I know how important it is for nurses to take their time for endorsement. We don’t want to miss a thing during endorsement period, or else, we are going to mess up during the shift. But let’s admit it, endorsement consumes a lot of time especially in the ward. Nurses spend a lot of overtime for work just to go over all the patients’ charts.

6. Phone calls

Nurses are like call center agents. They answer various phone calls, and most of the time not even related to the patient’s care. Another waste of time!

7. Doctors rounds

Some doctors made rounds… and sometimes they stay in nurse’s station, asking too many questions and making too many orders. And sometimes, just carrying-out a page or two takes about half an hour to do so.

8. Nurses notes

How can you concentrate caring when your nurse’s notes are calling out for you on the table?

9. Talkative colleague

When you’re with talkative staff mate you just can’t cut the conversation and it consumes all your time within the shift.

10. Demanding nurse manager

On top of your tasks, here comes your nurse manager/supervisor, asking too many questions and requesting other errands for him/her.

Studies show a direct correlation between increasing nursing hours per patient day and a reduction in patient morbidity, such as urinary tract infections and pneumonia. If only the hospital administrators realize the importance to cut-off other non-nursing responsibilities so nurses can concentrate solely on their job. If only…

References

  • Commins, J. (2010, Mar. 9). Nurses Say Distractions Cut Bedside Time by 25%. Retrieved from http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/nurse-leaders/nurses-say-distractions-cut-bedside-time-25
  • Hendren, R. (2010, Mar. 16). Ten Ways to Increase Nurses’ Time at the Bedside. Retrieved from http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/nurse-leaders/ten-ways-increase-nurses-time-bedside
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Rina Malones is currently working as a critical care/acute stroke nurse. Besides from blogging, she's also studying International Health at University of the Philippines Open University.
  • Raymond Santarin

    This is sooo true…

  • Regina

    Let’s not forget continuing your education. My hospital requires a certain amount of eduction/CEUs and they want us to do it online at work so they don’t have to pay us for it.

    • Rina Malones

      Yes Regina. a lot of requirements… always. 🙂