Shift of focus from role to task: a health promoting model of organizing work

Petra Nilsson, Ingemar Andersson, Göran Ejlertsson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper



Work organization in hospital settings has a long tradition of being confined to each respective professional category. Work tasks concerning the care of the patients have been tied to the respective roles of nurses or assistant nurses. Neither the nurses nor the assistant nurses have had a comprehensive picture of the patient’s status due to the fact that different professions did not collaborate.



The aim was to explore health care staff’s opinions about the work organization model called Patient Closer Care (PCC) that is related to perceptions of workplace health.



Interviews with thirteen mixed focus groups, which included nurses, assistant nurses and medical secretaries (n=70), were conducted at five medical units in a Swedish medium sized hospital. The main question during the unstructured interviews was how the employees experienced health in relation to the work organization. The analysis was made by qualitative content analysis.



PCC implicated that time was set aside for the staff to be more with the patients, and it changed the focus of their caring for the patients. Today the care proceeds from the patients’ needs. There’s been a shift from nurses and assistant nurses working alone to working together in care pairs, diminishing the focus on the different professional roles and limitations. Instead reflection and learning increased through the extended collaboration. A more comprehensive picture of the patients’ situation was attained, which resulted in increased comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness.



The Swedish model of PCC offers an example of health promoting as to organizing work that is significant to both employees and patients. The model shifts its focus from fixed work roles implicit in specific professions, to task orientation, which puts the patient at the centre. The experience of the model was primarily positive in several ways. The increased sense of coherence is a health promoting factor, which decreases stress at the workplace. The employees’ perception of health in relation to PCC has a positive impact on their work performance, which then becomes more effective.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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