Survey of Nurses Shows Dedicated Workforce, But Spending More Time Away From Patients

Preliminary results from a nationwide survey show nurses are widely satisfied with their career paths, although a third report spending more of their time on administrative tasks not directly related to the care of patients than they did five years ago.

Chicago-based CareerBuilder polled more than 900 U.S. nurses between March 11 and March 28 to gauge their current feelings toward their job and its duties while also cataloguing attitudes toward the changes to the industry. Final results will be released in June, although the preliminary statistics depict a workforce that remains dedicated to the job despite being wary about the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Ninety-three percent of those polled were satisfied with being a nurse and 85 percent reported that they would likely not be switching jobs.

However, it would be in the hospital’s best interest to figure out ways to shrink administrative tasks and increase their time with patients. The preliminary study found that while direct patient care takes up 38 percent of a nurse’s time, 41 percent say less of their day is spent with patients than five years ago.

Fifty-two percent say they’re spending more time with notes and documentation and a third say administrative tasks have increased.

“We’ve long known that the men and women who enter nursing are as essential to their organizations as they are to their patients,” said Jason Lovelace, CareerBuilder’s president of healthcare. “So it’s important that as the health care landscape shifts, their voices continue to be recognized by administrators and other industry leaders.”

To help offset those trends, hospitals are looking to technology to streamline processes. At Texas Health Alliance, nurses have reported spending less time on the non-care related tasks with the implementation of a tablet system that puts some of the nurse’s more menial tasks in the patient’s hands, such as ordering food or adjusting a thermostat.

“I joke all the time that nurses didn’t go to nursing school to fill out paperwork and turn down thermostats,” Texas Health Alliance president Winjie Tang Miao told D Healthcare Daily last month.

On that note, 57 percent of nurses found technology-tools aided their workflow. However, 46 percent found technology de-personalized patient care.

Nurses are also pessimistic regarding the impact of the Affordable Care Act: 47 percent anticipate negative effects while 31 percent see positive ones. Twenty-three percent say it won’t have any.

The final report is expected in early June.

Posted in Hospitals, News, Nursing.
  • Karen Leahy

    Being always. a slave to the computer and a scanner. has made me very sad after 40 years in the profession

  • ” Fifty-two percent say they’re spending more time with notes and documentation and a third say administrative tasks have increased.”
    While accurate patient notes and documentation are important, nurses don’t spend years in school to do paperwork. The industry needs some experts that can cross-over between healthcare professionals and administration to keep both sides of the fence organized and running smoothly.

  • Requiring nurses to spend less time with patients and more time on tasks such as documentation is the biggest error of modern day health care. It is our relationship with the people we are caring for that makes nursing such a unique and wonderful profession. It is the win-win for all; when we connect to people, it fortifies everyone and quality caring is more likely achieved. What arises is better staff and patient satisfaction, which leads to better patient outcomes. Removing that most important aspect of nursing-the human to human connection- has contributed to the very wounded workforce we now have where nurses are doing things that do not necessarily affirm their purpose as carers. The result is pretty nasty-compassion fatigued, morally distressed, and unfortunately over time many become, burnt out, nurses.