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News July 30, 2013

International Council of Nurses Publishes Key Principles for Safe Staffing

Earlier this month, the International Centre for Human Resources in Nursing (ICHRN) released a policy statement on safe staffing levels which highlights the need to ensure an appropriate number of nurses and other staff is available at all times across the continuum of care, with a suitable mix of education, skills and experience to ensure that patient care needs are met and that hazard-free working conditions are maintained.

“It is well known that nurse staffing affects the patient’s length of stay in hospital, morbidity and mortality and their reintegration into the community,” said Judith Shamian, president of the International Council of Nurses. “In addition, safe staffing levels are associated with improved retention, recruitment and workforce sustainability as well as better cost efficiency for the health care system--in short this is essential to the functioning of all health services.“

Prepared in consultation with the ICN International Workforce Forum, the policy statement sets out key principles that underpin safe staffing levels, and take into account not only the numbers of staff and mix of competencies, but also other variables such as a manageable workload; a responsive and supportive workplace culture; adequate supervision; appropriate training; and a range of high quality facilities and equipment.

At a time when governments are critically examining how to achieve or maintain universal access to health care and well-being services and simultaneously contain or reduce costs, it is essential that policy makers use the evidence that is available. This requires informed decisions to be taken through constructive dialogue with policy makers and nurse leaders.

The policy statement, along with other publications on human resource issues in nursing and healthcare can be found here. The ICN’s Toolkit on Safe Staffing is also available for download.
Source: International Council of Nurses.