Comparing Nurse Staffing Perception to Workload Metrics within Tripler Army Medical Center

Comparing Nurse Staffing Perception to Workload Metrics within Tripler Army Medical Center


Name: Charlotte Chang

Rank: 2LT

Presenter/Poster: Presentation and Poster

Year: 2019


Description of the study

The intent of the study is to compare nurse perceived workload to actual workload data by utilizing a survey quantifying nurse staffing perception on an ICU and surgical floor over a one-month period.

Objectives of the study

Inpatient nurses consistently report staffing as a major problem. However, most workload tracking systems demonstrate adequate levels of staffing. Survey results aim to discern key factors affecting nurse workload perception to identify factors that could be modified or adapted to bridge gaps between perception and reported workload.


Discrepancies between workload perception and workload data exist because nursing workload is complex and nonlinear. Time is spent on both direct and indirect patient care activities. Perception of inadequate staffing is ubiquitous, with nurses in key magnet hospitals reporting similar disparities between data and nursing perception. Existing surveys indicate that perceived adequacy of staffing (PAS) depends on staff nurses’ perception of the unit work environment. Common factors affecting this perception include staff competency, teamwork, job satisfaction, flexible healthcare delivery systems, support services, and staffing adequate for quality and safe care.


A cross-sectional survey will be conducted of RNs and LVNs working on an ICU and a surgical floor over one month. The survey is derived from the following validated instruments: The Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI), the Essentials of Magnetism (EOM) Survey, and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ Healthy Work Environment Assessment. Survey results will be compared to workload data for the same month.


Data collection will occur in February, we anticipate discrepancies between workload perception and workload metrics.


Determining specific factors affecting nurse PAS will allow nursing leadership the opportunity to address redundant aspects of indirect patient care that can be streamlined to maximize time for direct patient care.  As the Defense Health Agency aims to improve workplace efficiency military nursing leadership must seek opportunities to streamline care delivery.  In this period of transition, it is critical that nursing leadership and front line staff understand metrics used to assess workplace efficiency while ensuring to continue to provide safe patient care.  

4 Keywords: Nursing Workload, Staffing Perception, nurse staffing, nursing work environment