A toolkit jointly designed by a Sheffield nurse to help hospitals determine safe staffing levels has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
The Safer Nursing Care Tool was created by Professor Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, along with her counterpart at University College London Hospitals, Professor Katherine Fenton.
The toolkit recommends appropriate nurse staffing levels based on patients’ sickness and dependency.
Hospitals can then consider other indicators alongside staffing including infection rates, complaints, pressure ulcers and falls to give a wider picture of quality and safe care on their wards.
Prof Chapman said: “We warmly welcome NICE’s endorsement of the SNCT.
“National recognition of the importance of safe and robust staffing is a great step forward, and we are pleased to be able to share this tool in conjunction with NICE’s guidelines.
“SNCT provides the evidence-based information to guide and support nurses when determining staffing levels, enabling them to provide the best care that they can.”
The toolkit was developed using evidence from more than 1,000 best practice wards, covering 119,000 interventions delivered to almost 2,800 patients over two years.
It is regularly updated to reflect the changing needs of patients and further developments are in progress to support NICE’s advice on how to determine nursing requirements on a shift-by-shift basis at ward level.
Prof Fenton said: “We know that the right level of staffing, skills and experience is key to providing excellent care for patients, whose needs have changed significantly in recent years.
“The Safer Nursing Care Tool reflects that change and gives nurses and patients the confidence that staffing is geared not just to numbers but also dependency.”