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Statement: Safe staffing key to quality healthcare

Thursday July 25, 2013
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An appropriate number of nurses and other staff should be available at all times across the continuum of care, with a mix of education, skills and experience to ensure patient care needs are met and working conditions stay hazard-free, according to a policy statement on safe staffing levels released July 15 by the International Centre for Human Resources in Nursing in Geneva, Switzerland.

"It is well known that nurse staffing affects the patientís length of stay in hospital, morbidity and mortality and their reintegration into the community," Judith Shamian, president of the International Council of Nurses, said in a news release. "In addition, safe staffing levels are associated with improved retention, recruitment and workforce sustainability as well as better cost efficiency for the healthcare system — in short this is essential to the functioning of all health services."

The policy statement, which was prepared with the ICN International Workforce Forum, sets out key principles that underpin safe staffing levels. These principles include:

• Ensuring the safe delivery of care should be the main consideration in healthcare staffing decisions.

• Safe staffing means care is delivered without harm to either patients or staff.

• Safe staffing takes into account not only numbers of staff and mix of competencies, but also other variables such as a manageable workload, a responsive and supportive workplace culture, adequate supervision, appropriate training and a range of high-quality facilities and equipment.

For the full policy statement, visit http://bit.ly/12HwSgb.

The ICNís 2006 International Nurses Day Toolkit on Safe Staffing is available for download at www.icn.ch/publications/2006-safe-staffing-saves-lives.

Launched by the International Council of Nurses and the Florence Nightingale International Foundation in 2006, ICHRN is dedicated to strengthening the nursing workforce globally through the development, ongoing monitoring and dissemination of comprehensive information, standards and tools on nursing human resources policy, management, research and practice.

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