Relationships between patient dependency, nursing workload and quality

Int J Nurs Stud. 2005 Jan;42(1):75-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.05.011.


The nature and value of dependency-acuity-quality (DAQ) demand-side nursing workforce planning methods are set in the context of nursing workforce planning and development. Extensive DAQ data from one of the largest UK nursing workforce studies (347 wards) involving 64 high-quality and 62 low-quality hospital wards, are reconsidered in a workload and quality context. Results generate new insights; for example, poor quality care is more likely to be a feature of larger wards with fluctuating workloads than smaller wards with consistently high workloads owing to inflexible nurse staffing. Nursing activity and staffing differences between high- and low-quality wards are highlighted. Recommendations are made to improve nursing management and practice as well as the next phase of DAQ studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dependency, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / supply & distribution
  • Observation
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United Kingdom
  • Workload*