• Time pressure;
  • time structures

TOPIC.  Nursing time has relevance for those who produce it, those who receive it, and those who must pay for it. Although the term nursing time may be commonly used, a common understanding of the concept within the fields of nursing and healthcare administration is lacking.

PURPOSE.  The purposes of this paper are to explore the concept of nursing time and to identify implications for theory development, clinical and administrative practice, and research.

DISCUSSION.  Both physical and psychological forms of time are viewed as fundamental to our experience of time as social beings. Nursing time has significant intrinsic and instrumental value in nursing and health care. A holistic approach incorporating the physical, psychological, and sociological aspects and dimensions of nursing time is advocated.

CONCLUSIONS.  Multiple strategies to enhance the patient experience of nursing time are warranted and should address how much time nurses spend with patients as well as how they spend that time. Patterns of overlapping and competing time structures for nurses should be identified and evaluated for their effect on physical time available for patient care and the psychological experiences of time by nurses and patients.