Nurse staffing and scheduling is a major health human resource issue currently facing healthcare organizations. To increase the capacity of healthcare organizations to address a variety of issues related to nurse staffing and scheduling, a multisite collaborative project was undertaken. The primary focus of this project was to develop evaluative strategies and tools for identifying and optimizing promising nurse staffing and scheduling practices.

Nurse staffing and scheduling is a major health human resource issue currently facing healthcare organizations. To increase the capacity of healthcare organizations to address a variety of issues related to nurse staffing and scheduling, a multisite collaborative project was undertaken. The primary focus of this project was to develop evaluative strategies and tools for identifying and optimizing promising nurse staffing and scheduling practices.

To develop these strategies and tools, evaluability assessments of the nurse staffing and scheduling models used at four healthcare organizations (a pediatric hospital, a continuing care health centre, a pediatric rehabilitation hospital and a community-based hospital) were conducted. As part of these assessments, nurses, key informants and individuals responsible for nurse staffing and scheduling participated in either one-on-one interviews or focus groups. The data generated from these interviews and focus groups were analyzed to create logic models and evaluation frameworks for each site's nurse staffing and scheduling model, as well as answer five critical evaluability questions that focused on the design, implementation and evaluation of each model.

The outcome of this project provided the participating healthcare organizations, as well as other healthcare organizations, with the tools, resources and knowledge to conduct timely, justified and feasible evaluations of nurse staffing and scheduling models.

Lessons Learned

  • Evaluability assessments can be catalysts for change and improvement in nurse staffing and scheduling models.
  • Evaluability assessments can be effective tools for stakeholder collaboration to develop timely and meaningful evaluations of nurse staffing and scheduling models.
  • Evaluation is an essential tool and should be integrated in the development and improvement of nurse staffing and scheduling models.

About the Author

Katherine Moreau, BEd, MA, Evaluation Lead, Innovative, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

Hilary Maxwell, BA, Evaluation Assistant, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

Christopher Sorfleet, BHSc, Currently Coordinator, Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management, Bruyère Continuing Care, Was at the time of the submission Project Manager, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Jacqueline Ellis, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, School of Nursing, and Research Mentor, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Judy Rashotte, RN, MScN, PhD, Director, Nursing Research and Knowledge Transfer Consultant, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Betty Winsor-Stallan, RN, CRN(C), Operations Manager Complex Continuing Care/Respiratory Therapy, Bloorview Kids Rehab

Christine Ferguson, RN BscN, Currently Vice-President Patient Care Services, Renfrew Victoria Hospital, Was at the time of the submission Director of Patient and Resident Services and Chief Nursing Executive, Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital Corporation

Anne Mantha, RN, BScN, MPA, Director of Staffing and Scheduling and Nursing Resources, Bruyère Continuing Care

Pat Elliott-Miller, RN, BScN, MsCN, Vice-President, Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Correspondence may be directed to: Judy Rashotte rashotte@cheo.on.ca.