Assessment of workload using NASA Task Load Index in perianesthesia nursing

J Perianesth Nurs. 2008 Apr;23(2):102-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jopan.2008.01.008.


According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), as many as 44,000 to 98,000 people in the United States die in hospitals every year due to medical errors. Multiple physiological and psychological factors can impact the health care provider's attention span, making medical errors more likely. Some of these factors include increased workload, fatigue, cognitive overload, ineffective interpersonal communications, and faulty information processing. Postanesthesia nurses, responsible for providing care to unstable patients emerging from anesthesia with multiple life-threatening conditions, must make critical decisions on a minute-by-minute basis. The current ASPAN Patient Classification/Recommended Staffing Guidelines does not adequately take into account varying care requirements among the patients. If a tool could be found that effectively evaluated staff's workload, ongoing assessment would be enhanced and resources better used. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), a multifaceted tool for evaluating perceptual (subjective) workload, has seen extensive applications and is widely regarded as the strongest tool available for reporting perceptions of workload. This article will survey various uses of the NASA-TLX and consider the potential uses for this tool in perianesthesia nursing.

MeSH terms

  • Postanesthesia Nursing*
  • United States
  • Workload*