subordinates. One difficulty in measuring the productivity of knowledge work is that often
the output contributes indirectly to achieve end results. Factors affecting the nursing
team's productivity are:
(1) The number of team members. A team that is too large wastes time and
fosters indecision. The team should be large enough to complete the assigned tasks, but
small enough for adequate communication among its members.
(2) The number of assignments. Whatever the situation, the team members
must learn to organize their work so that they are able to give adequate care to all of their
(3) The types of tasks to be accomplished. Team members should be
competent in performing all tasks that may be assigned. Non-nursing tasks such as
answering the telephone, emptying the garbage, and transporting non-acute patients
should be eliminated from their duties.
(4) The time allocated to complete the tasks. As conservation of scarce
resources such as time, money, and supplies is more vigorously enforced, the need for
nurses to be "faster and smarter" in delivering patient care will increase.
(5) The environment. A smaller staff will be on duty during the evening and
night. There will be fewer members to a team, and each member will be assigned to care
for more patients. Although more personnel are available during the day shift, more
patient services are provided. Continuity of care is the key; communication between shifts
(6) The management style of the team leader. Whether the team leader has
an autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire management style, he must have a thorough
knowledge of nursing and an intuitive understanding of human behavior if the team is to
(7) The skills and experience of each team member. Each team member
should have the needed skills for the technique, treatment, or procedure they are to
perform. If in doubt, they should know where to find the SOP (standing operating
procedures) if required.
b. Although the terms management and leadership are sometimes treated as
synonyms, there is a distinct difference between a manager and a leader. The key
functions of a manager are planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling.
Leadership is an important aspect of managing; however, there can be leaders of
completely unorganized groups.
(1) A manager plans and sets up the organizational structure and assigns
specific people to accomplish specific tasks.