Saturday, July 24, 2004
This presentation is part of : Indicators for Administrative Databases: What Information Do We Require?
Indicators of Nurse Staffing and Quality Nursing Work Environments
Linda McGillis Hall, RN, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Objective: Recent studies have demonstrated that linkages exist between nurse staffing models and patient outcomes. Little or no work has been conducted exploring variables in the work environment beyond nurse staffing that may impact on patient outcomes. While it is widely recognized that factors in the nursing work environment may have an impact on nurses’ worklife, indicators for measuring these worklife factors have not been identified and validated. This presentation describes the results of a critical review and analysis of the literature on variables in work settings that can be considered indicators of the quality of nurse’s worklife.

Design/Methods: In acute care, complex continuing care, long-term care, and home care settings, the literature review identified the essential characteristics or attributes defining each worklife concept through the development of a clear conceptual definition which provided the foundation for review of instruments for measuring it; identified the instruments (where applicable) or mechanisms that have been used to measure each of the worklife concepts; reviewed the content validity of the instruments/mechanisms and assess their congruency with the essential characteristics of each worklife concept; critically reviewed the instruments/mechanisms for reliability, validity, responsiveness to change, sensitivity to nursing and patient outcomes; and determined the extent to which each worklife concept has demonstrated sensitivity to nursing care and patient outcomes.

Findings/Conclusion: These indicators examined include: proportion of registered nurses; staff mix; educational background of nursing staff; experience of nursing staff; use of overtime hours; absenteeism hours; level of autonomy and decision making experienced by nurses; professional development opportunities; span of control of unit manager; scope of nursing leadership role; team functioning; organizational climate and culture; and workload/productivity. Select indicators are being examined in a feasibility study.

Implications: Recommendations from this presentation will extend our understanding of the indicators of the quality of nurses' worklife.

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004