Call for Safe Nurse Staffing Levels Goes Global

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Cries, strikes, and proposed government mandates for safe nurse staffing levels is common news across the U.S. as we face a looming nursing shortage of several hundred thousand nurses. Recently this issue was reaffirmed globally by the International Council of Nurses (ICN).On August 6, 2018 the International Council of Nurses (ICN) released a new position statement on�Evidence-based safe nurse staffing(click link to view pdf),�which calls for increased investment in safe, effective and needs-based nurse staffing levels in order to improve patient outcomes and create positive practice environments.

ICN Position & Recommendations

As the global voice of nursing and recognizing that safe nurse staffing is crucial to maintaining both the quality and safety of patient care, ICN affirms the following key principles.

  • Decisions concerning nurse staffing must respond to clients' healthcare needs and enable the delivery of safe, competent, ethical, quality, evidence-informed care.
  • Robust, valid, evidence-based human resource planning systems and policies must be in place to match nursing supply to patient and population health needs.
  • Nurse staffing decisions must be evidence-based and supported by information systems based on reliable real-time data, agreed metrics, benchmarking and best practice.
  • Timely adjustments to nurse staffing according to changes in patients' healthcare needs are essential.
  • RNs must not be substituted with less qualified cadres of workers.
  • Safety thresholds must be identified for nurse staffing in different settings.
  • Regular reviews of staffing must take place and be informed by up-to-date evidence and best practice on the relationship between RNs and the work environment inputs and patient, nurse, organisational and system outcomes.
  • The primacy of RN professional judgement must be respected in determining the required safe number and ratio of staffing.
  • Direct care nursing staff and nursing management should be involved in all stages of the design and operation of nurse staffing systems and in policy and decision making in management of human resources.
  • Organisations should have a nurse at executive level to ensure the delivery of safe, effective, high quality, ethical and efficient healthcare. Nurses at this level should have authority over nursing budgets to safeguard safe staffing.
  • Organisations representing nurses should be central to developing, implementing and evaluating safe nurse staffing policy and systems.
  • Support for continued research examining patient safety and quality, staff well-being and economic benefits is essential.

It's nice to know that we're all in this healthcare frenzy together and that�patient safety is of the utmost importance to nurses around the world.

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August 27, 2018
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