UK PICU Staffing Study

The impact of changing workforce patterns in UK paediatric intensive care services on staff practice and patient outcomes

NHS focus on improving patient care recognises that the staff delivering care are central to quality. Current policy aims to improve patient care by tackling recruitment, retention and training for doctors and nurses and designing new ways of working. However there is little evidence about: best practice in effecting change in new staffing patterns; the impact of change or extended nursing roles on direct patient care in hospital; and that higher levels of nurses in extended roles in care teams results in similar or improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.

The aim of this study is to determine the impact of changing workforce patterns (or who cares for patients) on staff working and patient outcomes. It will take place in 12 paediatric intensive care units. It will compare 6 units without to 6 units with new extended nursing roles (ie. nurses undertaking tasks previously outwith normal nursing practice). It will compare the impact of differing proportions of total staff time and staff groups’ time in direct patient care in relation to quality of care and patient satisfaction, while taking account of variations in the initial illness severity of patients. Towards ensuring sustainable and high quality services in high-tech acute hospital settings, it will explore how best to manage human resources, support staff development in new ways of working, and compare staff wellbeing and costs.

This study is being conducted jointly by the Universities of Leicester, Aberdeen and Sheffield. It is allied to the PICANet study. 

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