Critical investigations into failures of care in hospital settings have identified the need to develop better systems to support decision-making about levels of nurse staffing.
A wide range of nurse staffing methodologies is in use internationally and nurses’ professional judgement is widely regarded as central to these processes. Yet while there is research on the technical and organisational aspects of nurse staffing methodologies, it is less well understood how nurses’ professional judgement informs staffing decisions.
The RCN Foundation are currently funding the Professional Judgement (ProJudge) study at Cardiff University. Researchers there are exploring nurses’ use of professional judgement in organising the nursing workforce to meet patient need.
The study examines how nurses made staffing decisions in a sample of six hospitals in England and Wales. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and differences in nurse staffing systems between the two nations are factored into the study.
The study aims to:
make visible the knowledge and skills that underpin professional judgement in nurse staffing decisions and provide a language with which to communicate this
lay the foundations for evidence-based programmes of nurse education and continuing professional development
inform the development of nurse-led decision tools to support professional judgement
generate wider insights into the effectiveness of nurse staffing systems in practice to inform future policy and practice.