The number of nursing jobs has been falling for the last years. At the same time, society is confronted with an increasing demand for care and medical attendance. This not only results in an increased workload for nursing personnel, it also leads to an increase of the qualitative and quantitative requirements. Numerous findings in literature suggest that nurses' work-related stress is mainly caused by work-organizational aspects. However, in Germany there are no suitable, valid and reliable tools for measuring the organization of working conditions in in-patient care. It therefore seems appropriate and necessary to develop methods adapted to German conditions and to check these in terms of validity and reliability.
The paper discusses the development of an instrument for measuring the organization of hospital wards. This instrument is based on the international standard for designing work systems (e.g. DIN EN ISO 6385) and its human criteria. The condition-related structure of the instrument, meaning the focus on the actual nature of the work characteristics, allows the derivation of design requirements. Furthermore, the validation of the developed instrument for measuring the hospital wards’ organization is presented. Generally accepted quality criteria are applied to evaluate the study instrument requiring, however, a discussion of the quality criteria against the background of measuring working conditions. Overall, the observation instrument can be considered a valid and reliable tool for measuring the working conditions in in-patient care.
On 45 nursing wards, two surgical units and one anesthesia unit improvement measures were developed and implemented. For all analyzed wards and units possibilities of organizational improvements were identified. The tool was integrated into the further education of head nurses. Additionally, 119 hospital employees were interviewed as to the effort and results of the implementation of the tool. Most employees reported a fair effort.
Please download the complete report "Work Organization of Hospital Wards" (in German only).
N. Stab, W. Hacker:
Stationsorganisation im Krankenhaus.
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2016.
ISBN: 978-3-88261-020-8, pages 80, Project number: F 2253, paper, PDF file