Development of a SubjectiveWorkload Assessment for Nurses:A Human Factors Approach

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Background and Purpose:

Research has revealed nurses' perception that traditional workload measures do not adequately capture the complexity of workload. Using a human factors approach to address the multiple and complex dimensions from the subjective perception of the worker, the Subjective Workload Assessment for Nurses (SWAN) was developed.


Survey data from 188 medical-surgical registered nurses were used to establish the instrument's psychometric properties.


SWAN Sections 1, 2, and 3; General Information Form Section 1; and the Nursing Texas Load Index demonstrated internal consistency with this sample. Findings supported interrelationships between activity complexity, performance circumstances, and individual characteristics described in the literature.


Further study is needed to refine the SWAN and to establish psychometric properties with nurses in other practice areas.

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