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Identification and usability of data-based nurse staffing indicators: a pilot study in Kuopio University Hospital.

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University of Kuopio, Department of Nursing Science, Kuopio, Finland.



The pilot study is a part of the Magnet hospital research project in Northern Savo in Finland, which is a collaboration between the University of Kuopio and Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) in 2006-2012. The purpose was to identify, describe and assess nurse staffing indicators from the data system of KUH. Donabedian's structure-process-outcome model (SPO) and the preliminary nurse staffing model by Partanen were used as a framework.


The data were a retrospective time series. The variables were extracted monthly from the hospital data of seven medical wards of KUH in 2006. The data consisted of information on 10 958 in- or outpatient visits in wards and administrative data of 117 nurses. The data were described statistically and graphically. The stability of the variables was tested. The optimal levels of the outcome and structure variables were determined.


There were sixteen structural and six outcome variables, supported by models. The availability of outcome variables was quite poor. There were statistically significant changes in the stability of the variables. The optimal level of each outcome was achieved with varying degrees of the structure variables.


Usable variables to measure nurse staffing were identified. New way of utilizing a longitudinal design was used as a method to evaluate nurse staffing levels and outcomes.

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