November 28, 2023

Study: Professional judgment from nurses underutilized in workforce planning

Editor's Note

A comparative study found that nurses’ professional judgment is not being utilized during workplace planning. The findings were published in the November 2023 issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies. 

Conducted in England and Wales, the study found that nurses were consulted for operational purposes during staff shortages, but their professional judgment carried less weight when determining staffing levels at a strategic level. The research team determined that this disconnect could lead to lower quality of patient care and increase nurse dissatisfaction, potentially contributing to staff shortages. 

The study advises that healthcare systems:

  • allow nurses to formally articulate their professional judgment for strategic decision-making
  • include expert nursing clinical and contextual knowledge
  • refine staffing systems to generate better data around the complexity of care and nursing workload.

As it currently stands, data is taken into more consideration than professional judgment for workforce planning. The researchers note that empowering nurses is critical to their professional advancement and retention.


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