Direct care takes up only 35% of nurses' time

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said public healthcare institutions are making efforts to redesign nurses' work.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said public healthcare institutions are making efforts to redesign nurses' work.

Registered nurses spent only 35 per cent of their time on direct patient care activities, such as patient assessment and medication and procedures, a study by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) found.

This is a far cry from the goal of 70 per cent set by the US-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The TTSH study, done in 2016, found that nurses spent most of their time on jobs like care preparation, documentation and handing over work to the next shift.

The Health Ministry aims to address these issues through automation and streamlining the role of nurses, said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health. Citing this study at the SingHealth Nursing Conference yesterday, she said public healthcare institutions are making efforts to redesign nurses' work in four areas: documentation, food services, patient transport and inventory management.

In addition, more support care staff will be roped in to help nurses in basic care, such as sponging, bathing and feeding of patients. Nurses will then be free to do more complex clinical care. "Our goal is to bring nurses back to the bedside," she said.

Ervin Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2018, with the headline 'Direct care takes up only 35% of nurses' time'. Print Edition | Subscribe