Measuring perceived adequacy of staffing to incorporate nurses' judgement into hospital capacity management: A scoping review

Carmen van der Mark*, Hester Vermeulen, Paul Hendriks, Catharina van Oostveen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Background Matching demand and supply in nursing work continues to generate debate. Current approaches focus on objective measures, such as nurses per occupied bed or patient classification. However, staff numbers do not tell the whole staffing story. The subjective measure of nurses’ perceived adequacy of staffing (PAS) has the potential to enhance nurse staffing methods in a way that goes beyond traditional workload measurement or workforce planning methods.
Objectives To detect outcomes associated with nurses’ PAS and the factors that influence PAS and to review the psychometric properties of instruments used to measure PAS in a hospital setting.
Design and methods A scoping review was performed to identify outcomes associated with PAS, factors influencing PAS and instruments measuring PAS. A search of PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Business Source Complete and Embase databases identified 2609 potentially relevant articles. Data were independently extracted, analysed and synthesised. The quality of studies describing influencing factors or outcomes of PAS and psychometric properties of instruments measuring PAS were assessed following the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality appraisal checklist and the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments guidelines.
Results Sixty-three studies were included, describing 60 outcomes of PAS, 79 factors influencing PAS and 21 instruments measuring PAS. In general, positive PAS was related to positive outcomes for the patient, nurse and organisation, supporting the relevance of PAS as a staffing measure. We identified a variety of factors that influence PAS, including demand for care, nurse supply and organisation of care delivery. Associations between these factors and PAS were inconsistent. The quality of studies investigating the development and evaluation of instruments measuring PAS was moderate.
Conclusions Measuring the PAS may enhance nurse staffing methods in a hospital setting. Further work is needed to refine and psychometrically evaluate instruments for measuring PAS.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere045245
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2021

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