The Australian College of Nursing welcomes the Victorian Government’s investment in growing the nursing and midwifery workforce, but cautions that ratios are not the answer to ensuring provision of best practice care.
“The Australian College of Nursing commends the Victorian Government on the positive aims behind this measure, particularly its recognition of the need to ensure nurses can spend the time needed in direct patient care,” said Australian College of Nursing CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN.
“The national nursing workforce is predicted to be short 125,000 nurses by 2030 so we must take strides to attract and retain nurses. However mandating staffing levels is a cursory remedy that does not address all issues. Patient care is very complex and unpredictable. Best practice does not simply require, say, three nurses on a shift, but the right three nurses who have the appropriate knowledge and skills to ensure safe and high-quality care.
“In conjunction with adequate nurse workforce numbers, our nurse leaders must be empowered to make staffing decisions which are responsive to patient care needs and deliver safe and quality health care. Our nurse leaders should be able to exercise their professional judgement and clinical management expertise to determine the nursing hours and skills mix required per patient or resident per shift.”