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Title page for ETD etd-03282016-113900

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Stefancyk Oberlies, Amanda Lynn
Author's Email Address astefancyk@oonl.org
URN etd-03282016-113900
Title An Exploration of Nurse Manager Work Activities in an Acute Care Setting
Degree PhD
Department Nursing Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ann Minnick Committee Chair
Christine Kovner Committee Member
Mary Dietrich Committee Member
Peter Buerhaus Committee Member
  • nurse manager
  • work activities
  • activities
  • observation
  • work sampling
  • self-report
Date of Defense 2016-03-22
Availability unrestricted
An Exploration of Nurse Manager Work Activities in Acute Care Settings

Amanda Stefancyk Oberlies

Dissertation under the direction of Professor Ann F. Minnick

The nurse manager has been described as one of the most important assets to a hospital success and is believed to be critical to inpatient unit operations. The purpose of this study was to explore nurse manager work activities including where, and with whom the work activities take place. There is a scarcity of literature about nurse manager work activities, and what has been published is flawed methodologically. This study examined the work activities of eight nurse managers at two academic medical centers in the Midwest. Work activity data were collected using non-participant observation and each nurse manager was observed for two, eight-hour work days. Twelve observations were recorded each hour and included at least one activity, one location, and one person. Interview, self-report, and artifact collection were used to capture additional data about the nurse manager, the unit, and the nurse manager’s work activities.

During four months of data collection 1,518 observations were made. Nurse managers were observed most frequently conducting desk work, schedule meetings, and personal activities. The nurse manager’s office and meeting room were the most frequently observed locations. The nurse manager was observed performing work activities most frequently alone and with a subordinate nurse. Nurse managers reported spending the most time in desk work and scheduled meeting activities. The absolute difference was calculated for the observed and self-reported activities. There were statistically significant differences between observed and self-reported clinical and personal activities (p = .002 and p = .001, respectively). Intraclass correlation statistics were generated and statistically significant agreements were observed for scheduled meetings, unscheduled meetings, desk work, telephone and rounds (ric = 0.72-0.83, p <.01).

With this foundational work completed, future research may build upon the knowledge generated including the linkage of nurse manager activities to patient and staff outcomes. This study added to the knowledge that self-report is an acceptable research method for certain activities.

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