Current human resources planning models in nursing are unreliable and ineffective as they consider volumes, but ignore effects on quality in patient care. The project RN4CAST aims innovative forecasting methods by addressing not only volumes, but quality of nursing staff as well as quality of patient care. RN4CAST is a consortium of 15 partners that will quantify in 11 European countries-Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK - important unmeasured factors in forecasting models including how features of hospital work environments and qualifications of the nurse workforce impact on nurse recruitment, retention, productivity and patient outcomes. Three partners outside Europe - China, South Africa, and Botswana- provide additional perspectives. Innovative elements of the project include unique measures of workplace dynamics and patient outcomes. Nurse workforce planning initiatives at national and European levels will be reviewed and newly collected data added to enhance accuracy for nurse workforce management. Data collection focuses on general hospitals, which employ the majority of nurses, account for the largest number of medical errors and comprise the largest share of national health expenditures. Each European partner will conduct a study of 20 to 50 hospitals depending on country size yielding information on more than 350 hospitals including surveys from over 50,000 nurses and outcomes of tens of thousands of patients. European partners were selected by geographic distribution, membership duration in the EU, research expertise and availability of patient discharge data. University of Pennsylvania, USA, will contribute specialized research expertise derived from previous international research. RN4CAST will be the largest nurse workforce study ever conducted in Europe, will add to accuracy of forecasting models and generate new approaches to more effective management of nursing resources in Europe.
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