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News and updates from today's Safe Staffing Summit

Today's national summit focuses on delivering safe staffing and improving nurse staffing levels.  The conference updates delegates on national developments following the Lord Carter productivity review and the May 2016 Public Accounts Committee Report  ‘Managing the supply of NHS clinical staff in England’.  The important issues of skill mix, acuity monitoring, recognizing red flag events and escalation are also being discussed.  

Following the chairs welcome, Jane Ball NIHR CLAHR Wessex University of Southampton delivers a presentation on 'Safe Staffing: is the evidence shaping policy and practice?'

In her presentation Jane made the following comments;

"Our study found that 86% of nurses said that something was ‘left undone’ at the end of their shift.  What was left undone varied but 66% said ‘comforting and talking to patients’ was left undone." 

"Care ‘left undone’ directly correlates to nurse staffing"

"Does ‘care left undone’ affect chances of patient mortality? Yes, higher risk of death where higher level of care left undone"

"Has research on nurse staffing impacted on Policy & Practice? – No, It hasn’t influenced as much as it should have done."

"BUT does it matter? – Yes, we still need to know what is going on.  Research is like a compass, we still need to know which way is North regarding of whether people choose to look at the compass or not."

"We have a commitment to do research and share findings, not just for policy makers but for other nurses and patients."

Pre-event Presentation Abstract - Safe Staffing: is the evidence shaping policy and practice?

In this session Jane Ball outlines some of the key research – both old and new – that demonstrates an association between registered nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Research has found that where there are low levels of RN staffing, there is a higher risk of patients dying in hospital (1) and that necessary care is more likely to be left undone (2 - 3) 

She reflects on the evidence and examines recent policy in the NHS to ask: Is the evidence being used to shape policy and practice?

1. Aiken LH et al. Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study. The Lancet. 2014.

2. Ball JE et al. 'Care left undone' during nursing shifts: associations with workload and perceived quality of care. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2014.

3. Ausserhofer D et al.  Prevalence, patterns and predictors of nursing care left undone in European hospitals: results from the multicountry cross-sectional RN4CAST study. BMJ Qual Saf. 2014.

Read Jane's full presentation here

Jane Ball specialises in nursing workforce research and policy.  She first worked with Prof Linda Aiken and Prof Anne-Marie Rafferty, to explore associations between nurse staffing and patient outcomes in 1999, as part of the international patient outcomes study. She is co-author (with Prof Jim Buchan) of the WHO’s guide to skill-mix methodologies, and whilst working at the RCN as Policy Adviser (2009-2011), she authored the ‘Guidance on safe nurse staffing levels’ (2010). 

Conference Chair Nicky Hayes Consultant Nurse for Older People, Staff Governor King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Clinical Lecturer King’s College London - Older People’s Nurse Fellowship, opens the afternoon with a case study looking at 'Safe Staffing for Older Peoples Wards', focusing on:

• reviewing and assessing nursing
• what are safe and effective nursing levels on older peoples wards
• how we have set a minimum staffing level to ensure safety 

In her presentation Nicky made the following ponits;

  • Our research we wanted to look from the ground, and look specifically at hospital wards where old people are cared for
  • A typical day showed a 50/50 skillmix as a UK average
  • 78% of nurses felt that ‘comforting and talking to patients’ was left undone at the end of their shift BUT the top of older people’s list for nursing is compassion and reassurance.
  • Our guidance for safe staffing levels are just part of the process to deploy safe staffing
  • Vitally important to have a career pathway for specialty nurses
  • Priorities for improving hospital care for older people is a massive work in progress

Nicky Hayes is a Registered Nurse. She trained at Southampton University Hospitals, qualifying in 1985. She holds a first degree in psychology and a Masters in rehabilitation studies from Southampton University. She is a registered nurse teacher and is qualified in advanced assessment skills and independent prescribing.
Nicky has held a range of clinical and academic posts prior to her appointment as Consultant Nurse for Older People at Kings College Hospital NHS Trust, London, in 2001. She was seconded part time to the post of Older People’s Advisor at the Royal College of Nursing from 2011 – 2012, returning full time to her NHS role in January 2013.
Nicky is Consultant Editor for the journal Nursing Older People 

Read Nicky's full presentation here


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