Resources-tasks imbalance: Experiences of nurses from factors influencing workload to increase

Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2015 Jul-Aug;20(4):476-83. doi: 10.4103/1735-9066.160994.


Background: While nursing workload is a worldwide challenge, less attention has been given to the determining factors. Understanding these factors is important and could help nursing managers to provide suitable working environment and to manage the adverse outcomes of nursing workload. The aim of this study was to discover nurses' experiences of determinant factors of their workload.

Materials and methods: In this qualitative study, the participants included 15 nurses working in two hospitals in Tehran, Iran. The data were collected through 26 unstructured interviews and were analyzed using conventional content analysis. The rigor has been guaranteed with prolonged engagement, maximum variance sampling, member check, and audit trail.

Results: Resource-task imbalance was the main theme of nurses' experiences. It means that there was an imbalance between necessary elements to meet patients' needs in comparison with expectation and responsibility. Resource-task imbalance included lack of resource, assignment without preparation, assigning non-care tasks, and patients' and families' needs/expectations.

Conclusions: A deep and comprehensive imbalance between recourses and tasks and expectations has been perceived by the participants to be the main source of work overload. Paying more attention to resource allocation, education of quality workforce, and job description by managers is necessary.

Keywords: Content analysis; in-service education; lack of resources; nursing education; nursing turnover; patient acuity; workload.