An Approach for Patient Classification and Nurse Staffing in Nigerian Hospitals: A Concept Paper

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The delivery of institutional nursing care in Nigeria is changing rapidly. Many hospitals are experiencing heavier patient loads in terms of patient care requirements due to population increase, especially in the cities. Today's inpatients typically require more intensive nursing care than those in the past due to new technology and therapies, specialization of nursing units, changes in policies and procedures in ancillary support departments. As a result, the intensity and complexity of activities on nursing units have increased enormously. The use of a patient classification system as a means of assessing, evaluating, monitoring and responding to the nursing requirements of patients in Nigerian hospitals could be a significant alternative to historical practices based on patient daily census. Any patient classification and nurse staffing system used should therefore consider all these complexities over and above patients' requirements for care to accurately reflect total nursing workload. Review of the literature did not reveal much on studies done on the use of patient classification systems and influences on nurse staffing policy in Nigerian hospitals. Hence, this paper addresses the approach for the proper method of patient classification and nurse staffing system that can be adopted in Nigerian hospitals.



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