A gap between need and reality: neonatal nursing staff requirements on a German intensive care unit

  • Christian Patry Department of Neonatology, University Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Monika Schindler Department of Neonatology, University Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Julia Reinhard Department of Neonatology, University Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Steffen Hien Department of Neonatology, University Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Süha Demirakca Department of Neonatology, University Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Thomas Böhler | thomas.boehler@uni-heidelberg.de Medical Service of Statutory Health Insurance in Baden-Württemberg, Karlsruhe; Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Medical Faculty at Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • Thomas Schaible Department of Neonatology, University Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.

Abstract

Recently, new staffing rules for neonatal nurses in intensive care units (ICU) were issued in Germany, using categories of care of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine as blueprint. Neonates on intensive care require a nurse-to-patient ratio of 1:1, on intensive surveillance (high dependency care) of 1:2. No requirements exist for special care, transitional care, and pediatric ICU patients. Using these rules, nursing staff requirement was calculated over a period of 31 consecutive days once a day in a combined pediatric and neonatal ICU of a metropolitan academic medical center in south-west Germany. Each day, 18.9±0.98 patients (mean±standard deviation) were assessed (14.26±1.21 neonatal, 4.65±0.98 pediatric). Among neonates, 9.94±2.56 received intensive therapy, 3.77±1.85 intensive surveillance, and 0.65±0.71 special care. Average nursing staff requirement was 12.10±1.81 full time equivalents (FTE) per shift. Considering additional pediatric patients in the ICU and actual nursing staff availability (8.97±0.87 FTE per shift), this ICU seems understaffed.

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Published
2014-03-28
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Keywords:
neonatology, categories of care, nurse-to-patient ratio, German Federal Joint Commission, pediatric intensive care unit
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How to Cite
Patry, C., Schindler, M., Reinhard, J., Hien, S., Demirakca, S., BöhlerT., & Schaible, T. (2014). A gap between need and reality: neonatal nursing staff requirements on a German intensive care unit. Pediatric Reports, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/pr.2014.5186