A job analysis of selected health workers in a district health system in KwaZulu-Natal. Part One: Job analysis of nurses in hospital settings

Curationis. 2003 Nov;26(3):32-41. doi: 10.4102/curationis.v26i3.828.


The aim of this descriptive survey was to do a job analysis of different categories of nurses in a District Health System in order to clarify job expectations, describe current practice of nurses in hospitals and clinics and to make recommendations about skills mix in district services. A mail questionnaire requested the sampled nurses to rate the frequency and importance of the tasks they perform. Only 19% of the nurses (41 nurses of all categories) returned the questionnaire, and an index taking into account frequency and importance, was calculated. The self-report data was compared with data from non-participant observation done over 19 days in 14 units in all three hospitals. A total of 39 tasks were done more than six times per week, of which most (16) were in the category of clinical assessment and recording. Counselling and teaching (8 tasks), were the second most frequent type of task. Only two tasks were rated as very important (giving injections and assessing respiratory status). When frequency and importance were combined into a Task Index, a large number of tasks scored in the middle range, with very few very high or low. Respondents identified 33 tasks that did not appear on the questionnaire. The observations showed that all categories of nurses shared many tasks in hospital settings. However, Registered Nurses were involved in specialized treatment and care, as well as administration of the unit. The specialists type tasks of Registered Nurses were also clear in Operating Theatre settings. The implications of the study are discussed and recommendations are made.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Educational Status
  • Hospitals, District
  • Humans
  • Job Description*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse Administrators / education
  • Nurse Administrators / organization & administration*
  • Nurse Administrators / psychology
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Nursing Assistants / education
  • Nursing Assistants / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Assistants / psychology
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Nursing, Practical / education
  • Nursing, Practical / organization & administration*
  • Regional Medical Programs
  • South Africa
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time and Motion Studies