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Hum Resour Health. 2009 Dec 19;7:87. doi: 10.1186/1478-4491-7-87.

From staff-mix to skill-mix and beyond: towards a systemic approach to health workforce management.

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University of Montreal, Faculty of Nursing Sciences, CP 6128-succursale Centre-ville Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7, Canada.


Throughout the world, countries are experiencing shortages of health care workers. Policy-makers and system managers have developed a range of methods and initiatives to optimise the available workforce and achieve the right number and mix of personnel needed to provide high-quality care. Our literature review found that such initiatives often focus more on staff types than on staff members' skills and the effective use of those skills. Our review describes evidence about the benefits and pitfalls of current approaches to human resources optimisation in health care. We conclude that in order to use human resources most effectively, health care organisations must consider a more systemic approach--one that accounts for factors beyond narrowly defined human resources management practices and includes organisational and institutional conditions.

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