Background: Every year, more than 1000 cases of adverse events are reported in the Swedish health care system. These adverse events cost approximately 240 million Swedish kronor each year. By explaining the factors that cause nurses to make mistakes when they have too great a workload, it is hoped the awareness of health care staff will increase. Aim: To perform a literature review which describes factors that can endanger patient safety when nurses experience too great a workload. Method: A systematic literature review encompassing both quantitative and qualitative material. The material in the chosen articles was analysed with a content analysis method. Findings: When nurses experienced too great a workload they do not always follow routines, which had the effect of endangering patient safety. A shortage of nurses and under-manning results in a
workload which suggests patient safety is not always maintained. Conflicts and misunderstandings between nurses and other healthcare staff also contribute to an increased risk of mistakes occurring. Conclusion: The study showed that too great a workload resulted in a decreased patient safety. Not following routines, nursing shortages and staff failing to communicate effectively were factors which could lead to mistakes affecting patient safety occurring.
Keywords: nurse, workload, patient safety, nursing care.
- Medicin och hälsovetenskap (3)