Safe nursing and midwifery staffing
Safe nurse and midwife staffing means having enough nursing or midwifery staff with the right knowledge and skills, in the right place, at the right time to provide safe and quality care to patients and service users.
Research clearly shows the association between nurse staffing levels and patient, staff and organisational outcomes.
Taskforce on staffing and skill-mix
The ONMSD supports the Office of the Chief Nurse in the Department of Health to develop and pilot frameworks for safe nurse and midwife staffing.
This is undertaken within a programme of work called the taskforce on staffing and skill-mix.
Framework for safe nurse staffing and skill mix (2018)
A Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix in General and Specialist Medical and Surgical Care Settings in Adult Hospitals in Ireland was developed, piloted in three hospitals and the final report was published in 2018.
Key points from the framework:
- patient, nurse staffing, organisational and outcome elements influence the determination of correct staffing levels at ward level
- individual patients needs differ and wards should use a validated tool to determine the nursing hours of care required per day
- the important clinical leadership role of the clinical nurse manager in a ward is recognised
- trained health care assistants provide an important support role to registered nurse
- clinical nurse managers are encouraged to look at quality measures for their wards and link this to nurse staffing (Quality Care Metrics and HIPE data).
This framework will be rolled out in all acute hospitals in the country over the next few years. The ONMSD supports acute operations with this work.
Emergency care settings
A framework to support nurse staffing in emergency care settings is currently being developed. This is being piloted in 4 emergency departments across the country.
Read more about the Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix.
The ONMSD in partnership with Children's Health Ireland undertook a workforce planning project related to Children’s nursing nationally.
A number of recommendations were made and are documented in the report “Children’s Services Nursing Workforce Planning: National Supply and Demand Exercise 2018".
The ONMSD now support the programme of work to implement its recommendations.
Research demonstrates the association between nurse staffing levels and patient, staff and organisational outcomes:
- A nursing workforce under strain - Report of the Irish RN4CAST Study 2009 – 2011 (DCU)
- The association between patient safety outcomes and nurse/healthcare assistant skill mix and staffing levels and factors that may influence staffing requirements (NICE, 2014)
- Effectiveness of management approaches and organisational factors on nurse staffing sensitive outcomes (NICE, 2014)