Strategic Workforce Planning for Health Human Resources: A Nursing Case Analysis

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Abstract

Background

Health-care organizations provide services in a challenging environment, making the introduction of health human resources initiatives especially critical for safe patient care.

Purpose

To demonstrate how one specialty hospital in Ontario, Canada, leveraged an employment policy to stabilize its nursing workforce over a six-year period (2007 to 2012).

Methods

An observational cross-sectional study was conducted in which administrative data were analyzed to compare full-time status and retention of new nurses prepolicy and during the policy. The Professionalism and Environmental Factors in the Workplace Questionnaire® was used to compare new nurses hired into the study hospital with new nurses hired in other health-care settings.

Results

There was a significant increase in full-time employment and a decrease in part-time employment in the study hospital nursing workforce. On average, 26% of prepolicy new hires left the study hospital within one year of employment compared to 5% of new hires during policy implementation. The hospital nurses scored significantly higher than nurses employed in other health-care settings on 5 out of 13 subscales of professionalism.

Conclusions

Decision makers can use these findings to develop comprehensive health human resources guidelines and mechanisms that support strategic workforce planning to sustain and strengthen the health-care system.

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