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Article

Sue Smith, Ann Casey, Keith Hurst, Katherine Fenton and Hilary Scholefield

This paper aims to explains how relatively simple nurse staffing formulas from “best practice” ward dependency‐acuity data can be used for nursing workforce planning and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explains how relatively simple nurse staffing formulas from “best practice” ward dependency‐acuity data can be used for nursing workforce planning and development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper combines literature, detailed ward surveys, workshop and expert group/stakeholder information to generate and test care levels/nurse multipliers for setting ward establishments.

Findings

The paper finds that professional‐judgement based ward staffing can be abandoned, while complex acuity‐quality, timed‐task and regression‐based nurse staffing algorithms for setting ward establishments may be unnecessary since the new multipliers, underpinned by robust validity and reliability testing, seem to be remarkably accurate nurse‐staffing determiners at a fraction of the cost.

Research limitations/implications

As care levels and multipliers stand they are suitable only for UK National Health Service acute wards. Primary care, mental health, learning disability and other specialist group care levels and multipliers need developing.

Practical implications

Users, at a minimum, can adopt care level data and multiplier staffing recommendations for benchmarking purposes. Ultimately, the algorithms can be used to: adjust ward establishments according to workload; or set staffing for new, inpatient services.

Originality/value

The paper offers a simple system for assessing patients' nursing needs and setting ward staffing accordingly.

Details

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0952-6862

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