This study describes the development of a classification system for the clarification, understanding and measurement of nurses' work methods. The theoretical basis of the classification system is described. The system offered distinguishes between three common work methods: primary, team and task nursing; the strength of opportunity for nurse-patient interaction in each method being determined as either 'strong', 'moderate' or 'weak', according to how effectively they are practised. Preliminary testing of the system on 32 wards in 13 hospitals is described. It is concluded that further testing and possible refinement is required for validation of the system.
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