Op-Time-izing Nursing Workflow and Workload with Human Factors Engineering 2017-12-14T18:07:40+00:00

Project Description

Op-Time-izing Nursing Workflow and Workload with Human Factors Engineering


  • National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI©) for a health care system revealed a significant decline in 2012 in nurse (RN) ratings of: job enjoyment, staffing, and perceptions of the environment while maintaining steady RN-to-patient ratios of 1:5 for Medical/Surgical (M/S) units and 1:2 for Intensive Care Units (ICU).
  • This negative shift in satisfaction indicated that, despite a comparable patient load, RNs felt more burdened than in previous years.
  • In order to identify and resolve these issues, a human factors and systems engineering framework was utilized at one hospital of the health care system for two pilot units, one M/S and one ICU, via a multidisciplinary team following a Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle methodology.

Aim Statement

Nursing efficiency was to be improved by reducing the time spent on medication management tasks by 10% per nurse per shift from March 2013 through March 2014 (baseline was 397.70 minutes for M/S and 378.34 minutes for ICU).

This was to be accomplished by a multidisciplinary team approach utilizing human factors and systems engineering methods including the elimination of non-value added tasks and redesign of the work system.


  • Work system audit conducted by engineers
  • Tools developed to reduce interruptions
  • Unit secretary probing questions handout created
  • Various checklists implemented and utilized
  • Tip sheets developed for Order Message Manager (OMM)
  • Work efficiencies implemented



Due to the success of the interventions, they were packaged into a usable toolkit and spread to other facilities. New inpatient room designs were adopted and infrastructure was remodeled to increase efficiency.