To investigate the drivers of perceived work intensity among neonatal intensive care unit nurses. The consequences of high work intensity have been studied extensively, yet setting-specific drivers have received less attention. Prospective, longitudinal and monocentric study design. The study combined data from standardized diary surveys and passive observations of study nurses. Data were collected over a period of 6 months in 2015. We considered two scenarios: (1) the perception of normal work intensity relative to non-normal work intensity; and (2) the perception of high work intensity relative to non-high work intensity. Perceived work intensity was then analysed using mixed-effects probit regression models. We found that when direct and indirect care were provided more frequently than administrative and other duties were performed, the evaluated nurses perceived their work intensity to be higher. We also found that nurses who more frequently provided care for sick and preterm infants were less likely to perceive their work intensity as normal and this effect was stronger among nurses who cared for infants under mechanical ventilation than nurses who cared for infants receiving non-invasive respiratory support. In the interest of both nurses and infants and the pursuit of a reduction in perceived work intensity and the provision of better neonatal care, caution must be applied when assigning infants to nurses. Further research is needed to validate these findings using a multicentre study design.

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Journal Journal of Advanced Nursing
Sülz, S, Langhammer, K., Becker-Peth, M., & Roth, B. (2017). What drives perceived work intensity in neonatal intensive care units? Empirical evidence from a longitudinal study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 73(10), 2441–2449. doi:10.1111/jan.13301