Monitoring the implementation of the nursing initiative
From mid-2024, a national programme for the monitoring of nursing staff will observe whether the measures for the implementation of the nursing initiative are having an effect and are thus contributing to improving the nursing sector in Switzerland. The planning basis for the programme was developed by the ZHAW on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
To ensure that the federal government, the cantons and employers are able to check whether the various measures aimed at implementing the nursing initiative are having an effect, a regular national programme for the monitoring of nursing staff is to be launched from 1 July 2024 onwards. This will create a comprehensive control instrument that will provide a transparent and detailed insight into the prevailing situation in the areas of acute and long-term nursing as well as into how they are developing. The measurements taken will include, for example, the number of vacancies, the number of training qualifications, the fluctuation rate, the number of nursing staff and the quality of nursing provided from a patient perspective.
The Institute of Nursing and the Winterthur Institute of Health Economics at the ZHAW were commissioned by the FOPH to develop the planning basis for a “nursing monitoring programme”. The members of the healthcare professionals platform, the educational institutions in the nursing sector, the Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) and experts from various fields (management, education, research, data monitoring) were involved in putting together this planning basis.
“It was of great importance to us to meet the different needs of all of the stakeholders,” says Prof. Maria Schubert, Co-Head of Research and Development in Nursing at the ZHAW and co-author of the planning basis for the monitoring programme. This proved to be a complex task, not only because, for example, the acute and long-term nursing areas are organised very differently and are also documented differently with respect to data, but also because the recorded data should be meaningful for both the FOPH’s higher-level planning and detailed planning at an institutional level. “Finding a consensus here was one of the biggest challenges we faced,” says Schubert.
The planning basis now defines four observation areas derived from the goals of the nursing initiative: the importance of nursing in the healthcare sector, the training and competence-based deployment of nursing staff, the working conditions of nursing staff, and access to and the quality of nursing services. In order to be able to measure the current situation and the impact of measures as precisely as possible, 33 indicators that are to be used in the implementation of the national programme for the monitoring of nursing staff are listed in the planning basis. “When formulating these indicators, we systematically drew on existing data and studies,” explains Schubert.
“It was of great importance to us to meet the different needs of all of the stakeholders.”
Prof. Maria Schubert, Co-Head of Research and Development in Nursing and co-author of the planning basis for the monitoring programme.
Subjectively perceived indicators, in particular, such as job satisfaction and workload are difficult to measure but relevant for ensuring effective monitoring. “Here in Switzerland, we currently have little data in this regard,” says Schubert. “It would therefore also be useful during the course of the monitoring programme to conduct surveys that serve to close these and other data gaps.”
The indicators collected as part of the national programme for the monitoring of nursing staff will be published gradually on an Obsan website from 1 July 2024 and be updated regularly thereafter. “It is important that the nursing initiative can be implemented as soon as possible,” states Schubert confidently. “With this goal in mind, we have developed a sound basis for the start of a national monitoring programme that can be expanded further as required.”