One of the major problems that affect nurses is improving workflow in a busy environment. When nurses are few and, healthcare professionals often face work overload. This has the potential to affect the quality of care given to patients in busy environments. When workload is high, efficiency reduces, thus making nurses vulnerable to errors (Cain & Haque, 2009). The healthcare sector has often faced a lot of demands to develop or reestablish its workflow. In many situations, the desire for evaluating workflow is the need to respond to new ways in which tasks are completed. There are various workflow issues that continue to face nurses in their working environments. They include challenges related to providing services to critically ill patients, and emergence of multidisciplinary teams in care. In such environments, all healthcare professionals struggle with the need to implement change that makes the care team more patient-centered.
The context under which this problem is common is primary care setting. Primary care settings are those that provide medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment. Primary healthcare settings are also involved in the provision of personal support for patients of all backgrounds, and in all stages of illness (Goroll & Mulley, 2012). In primary healthcare settings, nurses and other professionals are involved in the communication of information about prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, as well as the prevention and care of chronic disease and disabilities through risk evaluation, health education, and early disease detection.
High-Level Detail of the Problem
Nurses operating in primary healthcare settings are often overburdened with many tasks that interfere with the workflow. This is particularly true when they are working in multidisciplinary teams that require coordination and cohesion. In such cases, it might be difficult to clearly determine each professional’s roles and responsibilities (Hickey & Kritek, 2011). At the same time, when the number of nurses is few, the available one’s face stress and physical strain that might interfere with the quality of care given to patients and increase likelihood of errors. In an environment where technological interventions do not sufficiently meet the objectives of healthcare groups, it might also cause workflow issues. Such alternative flows arouse worries since the non-formal mechanisms depend upon the health professionals’ memory and may overlook the safety systems that might be offered.
Impact of the Problem
Workflow issues often generate vinous negative impacts on both the nurses and the patients. For instance, poor coordination among healthcare professionals can result in errors that pose many harms to the patients. In addition, work overload for nurses can result in stress and strain, thereby reducing their level of performance and productivity. In some primary care settings, nurses spend time in non-valuable activities that only reduce the time for attending to patients (Nelson & Watson, 2011). This can also result in poor quality of health delivered to patients.
Importance of improving workflow
Workflows influence how specific tasks are carried out. How a given task is organized and structured affects the way in which nurses deliver their duties. Therefore, improving the workflow can be important in facilitating a positive working environment for nurses and other healthcare professionals (Renolen et al. 2018). When nurses operate in efficient processes, they increase their possibility to improve the health outcomes and quality of care.
One of the major steps that can be taken to improve workflow in primary healthcare setting is to break down the tasks. The nurses’ tasks should be broken down in details and recorded on the task breakdown sheets (Isono et al. 2017). Nurses should also be trained to improve their performance and satisfaction (Burnard, Morisson & Gluyas, 2011) In addition, technologies should be introduced to support efficiency in workflow and coordination among different healthcare professionals (Cain & Haque, 2009). There is need for professionals to use technology to interact and build on each other’s contribution to patient are (Hoy & Frith, 2017). Examples of these technologies may include health information systems, and communication technologies.
Burnard, P., Morrison, P., & Gluyas, H. (2011). Nursing Research in Action: exploring,
understanding and developing skills. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cain, C., & Haque, S. (2009). Organizational workflow and its impact on work quality. Patient
Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.
Goroll, A. H., & Mulley, A. G. (2012). Primary care medicine: office evaluation and
management of the adult patient. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Hickey, M., & Kritek, P. B. (2011). Change leadership in nursing: How change occurs in a
complex hospital system. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Hoy, H., & Frith, K. (2017). Applied clinical informatics for nurses. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett
Isono, H., Suzuki, S., Ogura, J., Haruta, J., & Maeno, T. (2017). Improving the workflow of
nursing assistants at a general hospital in Japan. BMJ Open Qual, 6(2), e000106.
Nelson, J., & Watson, J. (2011). Measuring caring: International research on caritas as healing.
New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Renolen, Å., Høye, S., Hjälmhult, E., Danbolt, L. J., & Kirkevold, M. (2018). “Keeping on
track”—Hospital nurses’ struggles with maintaining workflow while seeking to integrate
evidence-based practice into their daily work: A grounded theory study. International
journal of nursing studies, 77, 179-188.