Nurses' perceptions of multitasking in the emergency department: Effective, fun and unproblematic (at least for me) - a qualitative study

Helena Hvitfeldt Forsberg, Åsa Muntlin Athlin, Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: The aim was to understand how multitasking is experienced by registered nurses and how it relates to their everyday practice in the emergency department. Method: Interviews with open-ended questions were conducted with registered nurses (n = 9) working in one of two included emergency departments in Sweden. Data were analyzed using Schilling's structured model for qualitative content analysis. Results: Three core concepts related to multitasking emerged from the interviews: 'multitasking - an attractive prerequisite for ED care'; 'multitasking implies efficiency' and 'multitasking is not stressful'. From these core concepts an additional theme emerged: '. and does not cause errors - at least for me', related to patient safety. Discussion: This study shows how the patient load and the unreflected multitasking that follows relate to nurses' perceived efficiency and job satisfaction. It also shows that the relationship between multitasking and errors is perceived to be mediated by whom the actor is, and his or her level of experience. Findings from this study add value to the discourse on multitasking and the emergency department context, as few studies go beyond examining the quantitative aspect of interruptions and multitasking and how it is experienced by the staff in their everyday practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Emergency Nursing
Volume23
Issue number2
Early online date27 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Emergency department
  • Interruptions
  • Multitasking
  • Nursing
  • Patient care
  • Patient safety
  • Polychronicity
  • Registered nurse

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