Study 2018-14 (HSR) Nurse staffing ratios in acute hospitals

Ongoing study - This study aims to evaluate if the current nurse staffing standards for acute hospitals are still appropriate in light of the changing hospital practice (e.g. reductions in length-of-stay, ageing population). The study includes three main parts. First, a replication of the 2009 RN4CAST nurse survey will be conducted on general internal medicine and surgery wards in Belgian hospitals.

This will allow us to evaluate how nurse-to-patient ratios, educational level of nurses, nursing work environment (e.g. nurse-physician relationships), and nurse outcomes (e.g. burnout, intention to leave the profession) in Belgian acute hospitals in 2019 compare with the same variables measured in 2009. Second, the Nursing Minimum Data Set will be analysed to evaluate evolutions in Nursing Hours per Patient day and intensity of nursing care in Belgian acute hospitals between 2008 and 2015.

These analyses will include besides internal medicine and general surgery also geriatric and intensive care nursing wards. Third, an international comparison will be carried out to learn about policy approaches abroad that aim to ensure safe nurse staffing ratios. These elements will be, after consultation with relevant stakeholders, used to formulate recommendations about nurse staffing ratio’s in Belgian acute hospitals. 

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