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Keywords:

  • busyness;
  • evidence based practice;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • research utilization;
  • time

Aims and objectives.  To explore the concept of busyness in nursing and to understand the relationship between busyness and nurses’ research utilization better.

Background.  Lack of time and busyness are consistently reported as barriers to research utilization. Current literature fails to identify the dimensions of busyness and offers little insight into the relationship between busyness and nurses’ research utilization.

Design/Methods.  We performed a secondary analysis of qualitative data and created a conceptual map of busyness in nursing.

Results.  Our results suggested that busyness consists of physical and psychological dimensions. Interpersonal and environmental factors influenced both dimensions. Cultural and intrapersonal factors contributed to psychological elements. The effects of busyness reported included missed opportunities, compromised safety, emotional and physical strain, sacrifice of personal time, incomplete nursing care and the inability to find or use resources.

Conclusions.  Our beginning description of busyness contributes to a greater understanding of the relationship between busyness and research utilization. Our findings suggest that lack of time as a barrier to research utilization is more complex than depicted in the literature. Instead, the mental time and energy required to navigate complex environments and a culture of busyness more accurately reflect what may be meant by ‘lack of time’ as a barrier to research utilization.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Future interventions aimed at increasing research utilization may be more effective if they focus on factors that contribute to a culture of busyness in nursing and address the mental time and energy required for nurses to use research in practice.