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Table 2 Task categories and definitions

From: “How do we use the time?” – an observational study measuring the task time distribution of nurses in psychiatric care

Task categoryDefinitions
Direct careTasks directly involving the patient, e.g. direct communication with the patient, nursing procedures, bathing etc.
Indirect careTasks indirectly related to the patient, e.g. communication with family, rounds, communication about the patient with other staff, planning care without the patient present etc.
Medication tasksAll tasks related to medication, e.g. preparation, documentation, administration etc.
DocumentationDocumentation excluding medication documentation
Professional communicationCommunication with other staff members, e.g. patient handover to a different unit, shift handovers etc.
SocialBreaks, meals, personal activities.
Ward related tasksWard related tasks not associated with the care of an individual patient e.g. cleaning, staffing, stock resupplying etc.
Training/supervisionStudent supervision and training during working hours.
TelephonyAll phone calls except personal.
In transitNon-registered time consisting of time between patients and tasks such as movement from a patient room to the nurse’s office or time spent waiting.
OtherTasks that did not fit within the above categories.