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J Med Assoc Thai. 2014 Jan;97 Suppl 1:S38-44.

Characters of physician and nurse staffing in Thai intensive care units (ICU-Resource I study).



There have been no data available on physicians and nurses who are vital human resources in Thailand. The objective of this study is to describe these characteristics as well as their working patterns in Thai ICUs.


Data were retrieved from the ICU RESOURCE I study. Physician and nurse characteristics, working patterns and workloads in participating ICUs were recorded. After hour consultations, nurse staff years of experience, nurse specialist training and patient to bedside nurse ratios (PNR) were collected.


One hundred and fifty-five hospitals are included in this study. Intensivists are available in 53 hospitals with a median of 0-1 intensivist per unit. Most intensivists are working in academic ICUs. The two specialties most involved in surgical ICUs were in critical care (34.1%) and surgical recovery (47.7%). Almost all pediatric ICUs were covered by pediatricians and only a quarter of them had been staffed with critical care pediatricians (28.6%). Less than 30 percent of Thai ICUs are covered by intensivists. About 42.3% of Thai ICUs have no night shift physician and the units contact the attending physicians directly. Experienced (more than 5 years) nurses staffing ICUs are at 62.5 percent. A total of 85.2% of the ICUs have certificated critical care nurses. Only 23.2% of all ICUs have an advance practice nurse (APN). The median PNR was 2.1 with an exception in academic ICUs.


Intensivists continue to be only scarcely available in Thai ICUs. Nurse workloads in non-academic ICUs were higher than those in academic ICUs. Specialty training for certified critical care nurses is in place for only one-third of the total number of ICU nurses. APNs are available in 25% of participating ICUs (Thai Clinical Trial Registry: TCTR201200005).

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