Aim: To investigate the relationship between non-nursing tasks (NNTs), nursing tasks left undone (NTLU) and job satisfaction among professional nurses (PNs) in South Africa (SA).
Background: This study adds to the international debate about the relationship between non-nursing tasks, nursing tasks left undone and job satisfaction by studying the variables at individual nurse and hospital unit level.
Method: A cross-sectional survey design of 1166 PNs in 60 medical and surgical units in 55 private hospitals and seven public hospitals.
Results: Nationally, the three main non-nursing tasks performed were clerical duties (M = 1.81), arranging discharge referrals and transport (M = 1.38) and performing non-nursing care (M = 1.31), while the main nursing tasks left undone were comfort/talk with patients (62.2%), educating patients and family (57.9%) and develop/update nursing care plans/pathways (51.6%). Nursing tasks left undone were only related to three non-nursing tasks, and job satisfaction correlated most highly with nursing tasks left undone.
Conclusion: Professional nurses conduct many non-nursing tasks, and leave several important nursing tasks left undone. Nursing tasks left undone cause the greatest degree of job dissatisfaction amongst professional nurses.
Implications for nursing management: Role overlapping and work performed by professional nurses below their skill level should be identified and re-organised; support services should be employed and efficiently used.
Keywords: South Africa; job satisfaction; non-nursing task; nursing tasks left undone; professional nurse.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.