Friday, April 2, 2010

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A workload tool being introduced into NT public hospitals has improved nursing staff numbers but has a way to go to improve recruitment and retention.

Implementation of the Nursing Hours per Patient Day (NHpPD) nursing workload management tool has been introduced into hospitals since last October. The NT Government mandated in October that the WA NHpPD model be adopted in the NT's five public hospitals after a coronial inquest directly linked the death of a woman at the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) to unsafe staffing levels.

A recent preliminary report on the NHpPD showed improved staffing in the NT. University of Technology Sydney professor Christine Duffield and report author said there had been a decreased workload and increased morale.

The report highlighted that the workload model does not take into account the significant Indigenous population in the NT and their unique health needs.

To meet the benchmarks, hospitals have largely used overtime or agency staff. ANF NT Branch secretary Yvonne Falckh wlcomed the report's findings and a decision by the RDH to cut the use of agency staff and develop a bigger casual pool from 1 July. "What the report has proved to show is that nurses have been doing it pretty tough. It has actually proved to show that increased staffing decreases the likelihood of adverse events."

Skill mix, which wasn't addressed in the preliminary report, needs to be the next focus, Ms Falckh said. "We need to have the appropriate skill mix. What has happened is that people are looking for whoever they can get without looking at the skills they can provide."

A second report on the NHpPD is due out in July.

Source Citation
"Workload tool move in right direction." Australian Nursing Journal 16.10 (2009): 19. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Apr. 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A199396588

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