Safe Nurse Staffing Levels on Wards

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Nicky Hayes
Date Published:
04 December 2012
Last updated: 
04 December 2012

This practice question was published with the kind permission of the Royal College of Nursing

The Royal College of Nursing published a safe staffing for older people’s wards toolkit. Can it be used by nurses to determine whether staffing levels are safe on their wards?

The toolkit provides a practical way to explore nursing staff levels on older people’s wards and to determine if they meet RCN recommendations for safe care. The initial RCN recommendations on safe staffing for older people’s wards were developed in response to public concerns about care quality and patient experience. There is no easy answer to care quality and staffing issues, which probably explains why concerns have been mounting over the past few years. The high profile media coverage afforded to a number of national reports have kept these concerns in the public eye and put nursing in the spotlight (Care Quality Commission 2011, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales 2011, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman 2011, Patients Association 2011, Age UK et al 2012).