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Monitoring nursing staffing levels in practice

Sue Osborne CBE Chair Safe Staffing Alliance spoke at today’s Nurse Staffing and Skillmix in A&E departments conference on:

•    How failure resulted in the need to set safe staffing levels.
•    The political influence on safe staffing levels
•    The effect of safe staffing levels on clinical outcomes
•    Avoiding addiction to 'quick fixes'.
•    The fight for mandated nurse staffing ratios; “Each of us individually does not count much. But together we are the strength of millions who constitute Solidarity”

Visit the Safe Staffing Alliance website 

In her talk Sue said; "Employing registered staff pays off...Studies have shown that unregistered staff can spend up to 36% of their time idle."

"It can take 2 years to stabilise a workforce"

"The number of students wanting to get into the profession out ways the number of university places"

"We need to provide care in an integrated way. Culture and leadership need to change.  Patient engagement is key"

The Safe Staffing Alliance 5 Key Manifesto Messages:

1.  Numbers matter: ‘Never more than 8’. 
It is unsafe to care for patients in need of hospital treatment with a ratio of more than eight patients per registered nurse (excluding the nurse in charge) during the day on acute wards. 
There is evidence that risk of harm to patients is substantially increased when staffing levels fall below this ratio and must be considered as a ‘red flag’ event and immediate action taken.

2. Enforce national standards 
Statutory levels should be set and guidance issued based on patient dependency, acuity and complexity in different settings.

3. Invest to save
Nursing is a 24-hour seven-day-a-week activity and budgets for staffing must be protected to reflect that. Investment must be made to the nursing workforce in order to save by improving clinical outcomes.

4. Transparency 
There must be genuine transparency over nurse numbers. Currently a vast amount of data is being collected which tells us about ‘fill-rates’ not the staffing levels themselves or clinical outcomes.

5. Sustainability
The solutions to this challenge are effective planning of care and workforce, clear and recognised standards, investment to meet these standards and transparency in the system. 

Susan’s full presentation is available for download at the end of this page.

Susan Osborne is a registered nurse and midwife.  She specialised in Intensive Care Nursing and medical nursing prior to developing a career in management.  She has held senior positions as: Chief Executive, Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, Directors of Nursing posts at Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust, St. Mary’s Hospital NHS Trust, London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chief Nurse at east of England SHA as well as undertaking a part time job share secondment position as Director of Nursing to the Department of Health Connecting for Health (CFH) Information Communication Technology Programme.

Susan is currently self - employed as a Management and Nursing Consultant and undertakes Interim Director of Nursing/Quality Governance positions in the NHS, as well as working as a Non Executive Director for the Homerton University Hospital NHS FT.  

In March 2014, Susan was nominated to Chair the Safe Staffing Alliance, a campaigning group of senior nurses supported by the RCN, Unison and the Patient’s Association who have a focus on securing a safe nursing and midwifery workforce for health services in the U.K.

Susan was awarded a CBE in 2005 for her contribution to nursing.

Future events of interest:

Masterclass: Nursing Revalidation
Tuesday 2 June 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Nurse Prescribing
Tuesday 2 June 2015 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Safe Staffing: Nursing Staffing Levels and Skillmix
Monday 8 June 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Nursing Revalidation for Specialist Practice and Advanced Roles
Tuesday 9 June 2015 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Nursing Appraisal and Revalidation: Implementing the New NMC Code of Practice
Thursday 2 July 2015 
Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester

Advancing IV Therapy
Thursday 2 July 2015 
Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester

Nurse Prescribing for Pain
Tuesday 22 September 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Nursing Appraisal & Revalidation & Implementing the New NMC Code of Practice
Monday 19 October 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Download: Susan Osborne full presentation

18 May 2015


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