In the typical hospital, nurses spend only about 30 percent of their time on patient care. The remaining 70 percent of their long days are spent largely on paperwork. This lopsided situation is seen as a major cause of poor quality, patient dissatisfaction, nurse turnover, and operating inefficiency.

Thanks to the ideas of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a dozen of the nation’s most innovative hospitals are studying ways for nurses to spend the bulk of their time taking care of patients.

Transforming Care at the Bedside, a two-year pilot program, is designed to improve the patient-caregiver relationship. The effort will look at practical ways to reduce paperwork, improve teamwork among nurses and physicians, reduce medication errors, increase the quality of bedside care, and increase job satisfaction and retention.