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Nursing Essay on Workloads in Contemporary Healthcare & Patient Care


Task: Prepare a nursing essay evaluating the workload of nursing in contemporary healthcare.


The main motive of the nursing essay is to discuss and evaluate the workload of nursing in contemporary healthcare and its impact on overall patient care. In health care, nursing plays a vital role that enables the entire hospital to provide the best quality service or care to the patients. The overall assignment will discuss the specified topic with the evaluation of the workloads of the nursing and its involvements along with the impacts on the nursing workloads. In this discussion, most healthcare issues have been facing because of the workload of nursing have been evaluated. Further, the assignment has also discussed the impact of nursing workloads on nurses that will consider both positive and negative impact. Lastly, the assignment will also discuss the impacts of the nursing workloads on patient healthcare outcomes and the care provided by the healthcare system, considering both positive and negative impacts.

What do nursing workloads involve?

In the healthcare system, nursing is the most pivotal part because it refers to a profession that emphasizes the service of the persons, relatives, and societies to ensure that they may achieve, recuperate the most favorable wellbeing and superiority of life. Hence, it can be said that the nursing sector is equally responsible for the growth of healthcare organizations. However, the workloads of nursing are defined as the amount of time and care delivered by a nurse towards patients, place of work, and specialized growth. There are various factors involved in nursing workloads, such as administration, patient care, increased demand for nurses, reduced staffing, increased overtime, etc. It can, however, be said that the administrational pressure leads to increased overtime of the nurses, allotment of the increased number of the patient to look after, and many more. Furthermore, poor management of duty segregation by the administration has also led to increased workloads of nurses. In addition to that, the increased demand for nurses in their different shifts also leads to an increased level of workload in the nursing sector (Mohammadi et al., 2015). This is because when there are a higher number of patients admitted to the hospital, there will be an increased demand for nurses, and hence each nurse will have pressure to look after many patients.

Additionally, the workload of the nursing sector also involves the growth of healthcare and the increment of specialized care services. When healthcare is expanded or improved, the patients will expect a higher level of care services. Hence, to maintain the service quality and meet patients' expectations, the nurses are asked to work for more hours and give their best at delivering care services. As such, it can be said that this is also one of the major factors that the workloads of the nursing sector in healthcare involve (Al- Malki et al., 2018).

What factors impact on nursing workloads?
There is also an increased number of factors that impacts the nursing workloads, such as shortage of apparent responsibilities and the system, performance of needless tasks, lack of equality amid the ability of wards and the number of patients, and the huge quantity or variety of tasks allotted to the nurses and many more. As per the in-depth analysis, it has been found out that most of the nursing workloads can also be impacted by the lack of proper ability of the nurses to work or to provide care to the patients (Chang et al., 2019). It might lead to piled-up work that may cause a heavy nursing workload. In addition to that, lack of proper management can also lead to a heavy nursing workload because they do not measure the ability of the ward to treat a certain quantity of patients. Hence, it results in an augmented admission of the patients in the healthcare, and an increased number of nurses are demanded to look after the patients.

It leads the nursing sector to work for more shifts and hours in order to manage and care for the entire patients with similar quality (Fagerström et al., 2018). It also gives rise to the variety of tasks allotted to the nurses as compared to that of the normal working days. Most of the time, patient care also leads to heavy nursing workloads as at certain times, there are patients who require more specialized care because of their critical health. As such, these patients require 24/7 care, and hence the nurses are assigned to look after such patients for the whole day as well as night. Such patient care service affects the workloads of the nursing sector in healthcare to an extreme level (Carayon&Gurses, 2021).

Nursing workloads and nurses
The nursing workload has more negative impact than a positive impact on the nurses. The excessive workload is the main reason behind deteriorated motivation among nurses. High workload leads to job dissatisfaction for nurses and leads to low morale, poor job performance, and turnover (Li-Yin et al., 2019). The excessive workload for nurses is a job stressor, and it is the main reason behind work burnout and stress. The task they have to complete within a shift reduces their cognitive and physical resources and affects their performance (Li-Yin et al., 2019). Researches reflect that there is an in-depth relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. If the individuals are satisfied with their job and workplace environment, it leads to effective performance, and if they are not satisfied with their work, it affects their performance (Kokoroko&Sanda, 2019). However, there are other reasons apart from the workload that contributes to poor performance, but the heavy workload is considered a major work stressor that affects the performance of the individuals. The excessive tasks allocated to the nurses cause job dissatisfaction.

The high workloads are a key reason behind the increasing job stress among nurses. The impact of workload is a crucial factor because it affects the nurses both psychologically and physically. The support of co-workers has a positive relationship between the workload and the stress level of the nurses (Kokoroko&Sanda, 2019). Some studies find out that the co-workers' role is positive for the nurses, whereas some studies find out that the involvement of co-workers changes the perspectives of colleagues from positive to negative. Hence, it can be said that level of involvement of co-workers influences the relationship between workload and job stress (Griffiths et al., 2019).

Nursing workloads and patient outcomes
The heavy nursing workloads cause dissatisfaction among the patients and lead to negative patient outcomes. Due to the heavy workloads, the nurse staffing levels are affected, and the number of undone tasks also increased. The Canadian center for occupational health and safety find out that the number of patients and their family member complaints increased because of unfair treatment (MacPhee et al., 2017). The increasing workload of nurses happens because if several reasons and also affect patient safety. The workload can be measured by different levels such as patient-level, unit level, job level, and situation level (MacPhee et al., 2017). The patient and situation level workload embedded in job level, and the job level is embedded in unit-level workload, so the tasks performed by a specific group of nurses in a particular shift increase. The heavy workload of nurses can significantly affect patient care because high workload pressure reduces the attention paid to individual tasks, which can cause errors or mistakes during their work. Such situations can contribute to the conditions of unsafe patient care and errors (Havaei&MacPhee, 2020).

The nursing workload increases the knowledge of the nurses and prepares them for challenging situations, in which they have to take care of the patient safety equally. It allows room for the development and implementation of solutions adequately that aim to deal with the workload (Stephenson, 2018). However, excessive workload and improper management of the workloads can cause a negative impact on patient safety and care.

The increasing number of tasks that are allocated for one nurse needs to be completed within the limited time, so the limited time is divided and allotted to complete each task. The heavy workload reduces the time allotted for each task; sometimes, it also reduces the time spent with the physician that affects the collaboration between the nurse and the physician (Fagerström et al., 2018). The excessive nursing workload sometimes leads to workplace violation by omitting the policies, procedures, and instruction while practicing (Fagerström et al., 2018). The policies are procedures ensure secure operations and better safety of the patient, but due to excessive workload, the situation of workplace violation occurs, which has a negative impact on patient safety and care.

The excessive workload for the nurses causes work stressors and burnout. The nurses' workload causes a more negative impact on nurses as well as the patients rather than a positive impact. The increasing workload can provide an opportunity for the nurses to develop their skills and knowledge and can adapt to be challenging situations. The workloads for nurses are influenced by different factors such as increasing demand for nurses, administration, reduced staffing, and increasing over time. The administrational pressure is one of the major forces that lead the nurses to do overtime. The excessive workload for nurses affects their job performance and job satisfaction and significantly affects patient safety and care. The limited time for the nurses in a shift is allocated with a small amount of time to complete each task, due to which they feel pressured to complete the tasks.

Al- Malki, Hawsawi, Tabsh, M., &Mohidin.(2018). 25 May 2021, from

Carayon, P., &Gurses, A. (2021). Nursing Workload and Patient Safety—A Human Factors Engineering Perspective. Retrieved 25 May 2021, from %20higher%20workloads,a%20result%20of%20population%20aging.

Chang, L.-Y., Yu, H.-H., & Chao, Y.-F.C. (2019). The Relationship Between Nursing Workload, Quality of Care, and Nursing Payment in Intensive Care Units.

Journal of Nursing Research, 27(1), e8.

Fagerström, L., Kinnunen, M., &Saarela, J. (2018). Nursing workload, patient safety incidents and mortality: an observational study from Finland. BMJ Open, 8(4), e016367.

Griffiths, P., Saville, C., Ball, J., Jones, J., Pattison, N., & Monks, T. (2019). Nursing workload, Nurse Staffing Methodologies & Tools: a systematic scoping review & discussion. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 103, 103487.

Havaei, F., &MacPhee, M. (2020). The impact of heavy nurse workload and patient/family complaints on workplace violence: An application of human factors framework. Nursing Open, 7(3).

Kokoroko, E., &Sanda, M. A. (2019). Effect of Workload on Job Stress of Ghanaian OPD Nurses: The Role of Co-worker Support. Safety and Health at Work, 10(3), 341–346.

MacPhee, M., Dahinten, V., &Havaei, F. (2017). The Impact of Heavy Perceived Nurse Workloads on Patient and Nurse Outcomes. Administrative Sciences, 7(1), 7.

Mohammadi, E., Vanaki, Z., &Khademi, M. (2015). Resources–tasks imbalance: Experiences of nurses from factors influencing workload to increase. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 20(4), 476.

Stephenson, J. (2018, May 4). Excessive nurse workload linked to higher patient safety risk. Nursing Times.


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