Health Services Research & Development

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Gregory L, Weston LE, Harrod M, Meddings J, Krein SL. Understanding nurses' workflow: Batching care and potential opportunities for transmission of infectious organisms, a pilot study. American journal of infection control. 2019 May 6.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Caring for patients in contact precautions can be challenging. In this pilot study, we sought to understand, using qualitative and visual methods, how nurses provide care for patients in contact precaution rooms and to identify potential breakdowns in practice that could increase risk of disease transmission. METHODS: Qualitative data were collected while shadowing 4 nurses on 2 medical/surgical units at a university medical center between September and October 2016. Observers documented nurses'' movements in handwritten fieldnotes. Fieldnote data were analyzed using a descriptive approach with visual depiction to map care delivery in precaution and non-precaution rooms. RESULTS: Nurses moved between non-precaution rooms, completing 1-4 tasks per room entry, over the course of several brief room entries and exits. In contrast, nurses rarely entered contact precaution rooms to complete only a few tasks, generally completing =10 tasks per room entry. Although hand hygiene on room entry/exit was consistently performed, a breakdown in practice occurred in precaution rooms as nurses tended to move between tasks and contact with the environment without performing hand hygiene. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in how nurses structure their work in contact precaution rooms may contribute to risk of infectious disease transmission. Understanding and addressing the challenges specific to how nurses work is a critical part of infection prevention in today''s hospital environment.