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Keywords:

  • concept analysis;
  • daily routines;
  • functional status;
  • nursing;
  • Rodgers’ evolutionary method;
  • routine

Abstract

Title. A concept analysis of routine: relevance to nursing

Aim.  This paper reports a concept analysis identifying the attributes, antecedents and consequences of the concept of routine and examining the implications and applications of this concept in the field of nursing.

Background.  Routine may be a pivotal concept in understanding functional adaptation and wellbeing. Nurses in institutional settings work according to scheduled routines, patient care is largely orchestrated in routines set by organizations and regulations, and persons receiving care have their own life routines determining identity, capacities and frame of reference. However, to date, nursing has paid little attention to the relevance of routine and the role it may play in patient care.

Method.  A concept analysis was conducted using Rodgers’ guidelines. The literature search was based on the following databases: PsycInfo, CINAHL, MedLine, Social Services, and Social Work abstracts. To be included in the analysis, papers had to relate directly and essentially to the concept of routine. Seventy-four papers published from 1977 to 2005 were included in the final stage of the analysis. The analysis included target populations, disciplinary perspectives, type of manuscript, themes and definitions, theoretical models, antecedents and consequences, as well as related terms.

Results.  Routine is a concept pertaining to strategically designed behavioural patterns (conscious and subconscious) and is used to organize and coordinate activities along different axes of time, duration, social and physical contexts, sequence and order. It emerges from the literature as a strategy that serves adaptation, in general, especially in the face of change and stressful situations. The conceptual structure, relations with other concepts, antecedents and consequences are described.

Conclusion.  The concept of routine is ill-defined and seldom used in the field of nursing, despite the promise it may hold for a better understanding of a wide range of health-related issues. This concept analysis offers an integrative view of routine and suggests directions for future research and practice.