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Nursing Workload and Patient Safety—A Human Factors Engineering Perspective.


Carayon P1, Gurses AP2.


In: Hughes RG, editor.


Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2008 Apr. Chapter 30.
Advances in Patient Safety.

Author information

Pascale Carayon, Ph.D., Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, University of Wisconsin–Madison. E-mail:
Ayse P. Gurses, Assistant Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Email:


Nursing workload is affected by staffing levels and the patients’ conditions, but also by the design of the nurses’ work system. In this chapter, a description of different levels of workload, including situational workload, was offered, and a proposal for a human factors engineering approach aimed at reducing workload or at mitigating or balancing the impact of workload on nurses and patient care was suggested.

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