Nursing workload, medical diagnosis related groups, and nursing diagnoses


  • Dr. Edward J. Halloran

    Corresponding author
    • University Hospitals of Cleveland, c/o Lakeside Nursing Office, 2074 Abington Road, Cleveland, OH 44106
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    • Dr. Edward J. Halloran is senior vice president/director of nursing, University Hospitals of Cleveland and an associate professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.


Patient conditions associated with the relative amount of time nurses spent caring for patients were identified in this study. The patient conditions examined were: nursing condition using 37 nursing diagnoses, medical condition using diagnosis-related groups (DRGs), and demographic characteristics of age, sex, and race. Nursing time was estimated using the Rush-Medicus patient classification workload measurement tool. Data were gathered from checklists of nursing diagnoses and the discharge records of 2560 adult inpatients of an acute care community hospital. Using multiple regression analysis nursing condition explained twice the variation in daily nursing workload (52.4%) than medical condition (26.3%). The finding that nursing care time is predicted better by a patientapos;s nursing condition than by either medical condition or demographic characteristics indicates that nursing care is not physician prescribed.