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The Productive Ward: Releasing Time to Care – What we can learn from the literature for implementation


  • Mark White MBS, MSc, DipHE, RGN, RM,

    National Lead for the Productive Ward and Interim Director, Corresponding author
    1. Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit, HSE-South, Kilkenny, Ireland
    • Correspondence

      Mark White

      Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit


      Kilcreene Hospital




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  • John SG Wells PhD, MSc, BA (Hons), PGDipEd, RNT, RPN,

    Professor and Head
    1. School of Health Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
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  • Tony Butterworth CBE, FMedSci, FRCN, FQNI, FRCPsych FRSA

    Professor Emeritus of Healthcare Workforce Innovation, Non Executive Director
    1. University of Lincoln
    2. NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement, Coventry, UK
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This paper reviews the Productive Ward: Releasing Time to Care™ literature, identifying and discussing the key characteristics that may contribute to successful implementation.


It is 5 years since the official UK launch of the Productive Ward, and the Republic of Ireland commenced a phased, national implementation programme in 2011. Thus it is timely to reflect on the implementation lessons learned to date and described in the literature.


Using taxonomic mapping, this paper evaluates the current state of the literature that pertains to Productive Ward implementation experience; success factors; reports, and assessments.

Key issues

Seven common contextual characteristics were identified: robust and engaging communication; enabling and empowering roles; appropriate training; project planning and management; leadership; corporate/management engagement and support; and financial and human resource commitment.


The key characteristics identified have a direct impact on the implementation of the Productive Ward. The interplay between these key characteristics and how this interplay influences successful implementation of the Productive Ward warrants further research.

Implications for nursing management

Acknowledging and embracing the seven characteristics during implementation will positively improve the progress and success of the initiatives implementation.

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