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Staffing & Patient Outcomes

Proper nurse staffing strengthens the health-care system and improves patient safety. So nurse leaders and employers must address staffing needs and employ nurses appropriately in every health-care environment, whether in acute care, rehabilitation and palliation or in health promotion and disease prevention.

To promote safe staffing and improve patient outcomes, CNA and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) created an evidence-based safe nurse staffing toolkit. The toolkit’s four modules are designed specifically to help direct care nurses and nurse managers make staffing decisions in all health-care settings.

Nursing care delivery models

With the movement across Canada’s health-care system to be more patient focused, the decisions nurse leaders, administrators and policy-makers make about delivery models and staff mix must be based on reliable evidence. Delivery models that work consider all the elements that affect client care, including staff mix, human development, diverse populations, economics, politics, technology and client acuity.

Effective interprofessional teamwork must also be developed and shared (and include organizational and educational supports for nurses and other health-care professionals). For nurses, the major challenges include knowing what each nurse brings to the care process and finding ways to work collaboratively.

Because the complex task of designing nursing care delivery models and making the right staff mix decisions have a long-term impact on clients, staff, systems and organizations, they are pivotal to the future of nursing and health care in Canada. A report developed at a CNA-hosted roundtable, Invitational Round Table Nursing Care Delivery Models and Staff Mix: Using Evidence in Decision-making [PDF, 111.5 KB] (2010), offers a set of guiding principles and topics for further discussion.

Practice environments

Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (CNA, 2008)
Workplace Violence and Bullying [PDF, 313.3 KB] (CNA/CFNU, 2015)
Practice Environments: Maximizing Outcomes for Clients, Nurses and Organizations [PDF, 317.2 KB] (CNA/CFNU, 2015)

Innovative nursing models: Recruitment and retention

To improve workplaces and increase nurse recruitment and retention, CNA partnered with CFNU, the Canadian Healthcare Association and the Dietitians of Canada on the Research to Action project, which implemented pilot projects based on evidence-based strategies in 10 jurisdictions. Read more about the project in “The Research to Action Project: Applied Workplace Solutions for Nurses,” the lead article in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership.