Interruptions during nurses' work: A state-of-the-science review

Authors

  • Susan G. Hopkinson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany
    • Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany.
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    • Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Nurse Corps. Susan G. Hopkinson is currently a nurse scientist at the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany. Work on this manuscript began while she was a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland.

  • Bonnie Mowinski Jennings

    1. Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
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    • Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.


  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

  • The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Abstract

The purpose of this state-of-the-science review was to examine empirical evidence from studies of interruptions conducted in acute care nurses' work environments. A total of 791 articles published from 2001 through 2011 were reviewed; 31 met the criteria to be included in the sample. Despite sustained multinational and multidisciplinary attention to interruptions during nurses' work, the current findings suggest that beliefs about the ill effects of interruptions remain more conjecture than evidence-based. Pre-existing beliefs and biases may interfere with deriving a more accurate grasp of interruptions and their effects. Future research would benefit from examinations of interruptions that better capture their complexity, to include their relationships to both positive and negative outcomes for both patients and health care workers. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 36:38–53, 2013

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