Over the past decade nurse staffing has been a challenge for hospitals. One response has been to use a nursing resource team, an innovative transformation of the float pool of the past. Resource teams consist of staff employed by the organization to cover vacancies and absences and to respond to increases in the numbers of patients or the seriousness of their conditions.
The McMaster study explored the nursing resource team (NRT) at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) from the first two years of its implementation, September 2002 until June 2004.
Researchers and clinicians from McMaster's Nursing Health Services Research Unit (NHSRU) and HHS found that the NRT offered a competitive advantage for the organization through its ability to recruit, retain, and maximize the use of nurses during a time of shortage.
Prior to the establishment of the NRT, nursing human resources management had become problematic. Insufficient nursing capacity meant using agency nurses, sanctioning overtime, and leaving nursing teams short-staffed. Limited staffing capacity created stress for nursing staff who felt overworked and under-supported.
Resource management teams are usually managed centrally. Resource staff are managed and deployed by a central staffing office that assigns nurses to areas in need of personnel across the entire hospital. The difference between a traditional float pool and a modern resource team is the range of units to which an individual nurse can be assigned. In a traditional float pool, a nurse is regarded as a generic worker who is able to work with various patient populations and utilize many skill sets. In resource teams, however, nurses' specialized skills are recognized and used. Nurses work in their
Contact: Veronica McGuire