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1.  Conceptualizing performance of nursing care as a prerequisite for better measurement: a systematic and interpretive review 
BMC Nursing  2013;12:7.
Background
Despite the critical role of nursing care in determining high-performing healthcare delivery, performance science in this area is still at an early stage of development and nursing’s contribution most often remains invisible to policy-makers and managers. The objectives of this study were: 1) to develop a theoretically based framework to conceptualize nursing care performance; 2) to analyze how the different components of the framework have been operationalized in the literature; and 3) to develop a pool of indicators sensitive to various aspects of nursing care that can be used as a basis for designing a performance measurement system.
Methods
We carried out a systematic review of published literature across three databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL), focusing on literature between 1990 and 2008. Screening of 2,103 papers resulted in final selection of 101 papers. A detailed template was used to extract the data. For the analysis, we used the method of interpretive synthesis, focusing first on 31 papers with theoretical or conceptual frameworks; the remaining 70 articles were used to strengthen and consolidate the findings.
Results
Current conceptualizations of nursing care performance mostly reflect a system perspective that builds on system theory, Donabedian’s earlier works on healthcare organization, and Parsons’ theory of social action. Drawing on these foundational works and the evidence collated, the Nursing Care Performance Framework (NCPF) we developed conceptualizes nursing care performance as resulting from three nursing subsystems that operate together to achieve three key functions: (1) acquiring, deploying and maintaining nursing resources, (2) transforming nursing resources into nursing services, and (3) producing changes in patients’ conditions. Based on the literature review, these three functions are operationalized through 14 dimensions that cover 51 variables. The NCPF not only specifies core aspects of nursing performance, it also provides decision-makers with a conceptual tool to serve as a common ground from which to define performance, devise a common and balanced set of performance indicators for a given sector of nursing care, and derive benchmarks for this sector.
Conclusions
The NCPF provides a comprehensive, integrated and theoretically based model that allows performance evaluation of both the overall nursing system and its subsystems. Such an approach widens the view of nursing performance to embrace a multidimensional perspective that encompasses the diverse aspects of nursing care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-12-7
PMCID: PMC3600011  PMID: 23496961
Performance measurement; Nursing care; Systems theory; Quality of care; Nursing structure; Nursing processes; Nursing sensitive outcomes; Systematic review.
2.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
3.  Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b 
Background
Minimal research has been conducted into the potential patient safety issues related to administering multiple intravenous (IV) infusions to a single patient. Previous research has highlighted that there are a number of related safety risks. In Phase 1a of this study, an analysis of 2 national incident-reporting databases (Institute for Safe Medical Practices Canada and United States Food and Drug Administration MAUDE) found that a high percentage of incidents associated with the administration of multiple IV infusions resulted in patient harm.
Objectives
The primary objectives of Phase 1b of this study were to identify safety issues with the potential to cause patient harm stemming from the administration of multiple IV infusions; and to identify how nurses are being educated on key principles required to safely administer multiple IV infusions.
Data Sources and Review Methods
A field study was conducted at 12 hospital clinical units (sites) across Ontario, and telephone interviews were conducted with program coordinators or instructors from both the Ontario baccalaureate nursing degree programs and the Ontario postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. Data were analyzed using Rasmussen’s 1997 Risk Management Framework and a Health Care Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
Results
Twenty-two primary patient safety issues were identified with the potential to directly cause patient harm. Seventeen of these (critical issues) were categorized into 6 themes. A cause-consequence tree was established to outline all possible contributing factors for each critical issue. Clinical recommendations were identified for immediate distribution to, and implementation by, Ontario hospitals. Future investigation efforts were planned for Phase 2 of the study.
Limitations
This exploratory field study identifies the potential for errors, but does not describe the direct observation of such errors, except in a few cases where errors were observed. Not all issues are known in advance, and the frequency of errors is too low to be observed in the time allotted and with the limited sample of observations.
Conclusions
The administration of multiple IV infusions to a single patient is a complex task with many potential associated patient safety risks. Improvements to infusion and infusion-related technology, education standards, clinical best practice guidelines, hospital policies, and unit work practices are required to reduce the risk potential. This report makes several recommendations to Ontario hospitals so that they can develop an awareness of the issues highlighted in this report and minimize some of the risks. Further investigation of mitigating strategies is required and will be undertaken in Phase 2 of this research.
Plain Language Summary
Patients, particularly in critical care environments, often require multiple intravenous (IV) medications via large volumetric or syringe infusion pumps. The infusion of multiple IV medications is not without risk; unintended errors during these complex procedures have resulted in patient harm. However, the range of associated risks and the factors contributing to these risks are not well understood.
Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee commissioned the Health Technology Safety Research Team at the University Health Network to conduct a multi-phase study to identify and mitigate the risks associated with multiple IV infusions. Some of the questions addressed by the team were as follows: What is needed to reduce the risk of errors for individuals who are receiving a lot of medications? What strategies work best?
The initial report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1a: Situation Scan Summary Report, summarizes the interim findings based on a literature review, an incident database review, and a technology scan.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team worked in close collaboration with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada on an exploratory study to understand the risks associated with multiple IV infusions and the degree to which nurses are educated to help mitigate them. The current report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b: Practice and Training Scan, presents the findings of a field study of 12 hospital clinical units across Ontario, as well as 13 interviews with educators from baccalaureate-level nursing degree programs and postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. It makes 9 recommendations that emphasize best practices for the administration of multiple IV infusions and pertain to secondary infusions, line identification, line set-up and removal, and administering IV bolus medications.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team has also produced an associated report for hospitals entitled Mitigating the Risks Associated With Multiple IV Infusions: Recommendations Based on a Field Study of Twelve Ontario Hospitals, which highlights the 9 interim recommendations and provides a brief rationale for each one.
PMCID: PMC3377572  PMID: 23074426
4.  Using psychological theory to inform methods to optimize the implementation of a hand hygiene intervention 
Background
Careful hand hygiene (HH) is the single most important factor in preventing the transmission of infections to patients, but compliance is difficult to achieve and maintain. A lack of understanding of the processes involved in changing staff behaviour may contribute to the failure to achieve success. The purpose of this study was to identify nurses’ and administrators’ perceived barriers and facilitators to current HH practices and the implementation of a new electronic monitoring technology for HH.
Methods
Ten key informant interviews (three administrators and seven nurses) were conducted to explore barriers and facilitators related to HH and the impact of the new technology on outcomes. The semi structured interviews were based on the Theoretical Domains Framework by Michie et al. and conducted prior to intervention implementation. Data were explored using an inductive qualitative analysis approach. Data between administrators and nurses were compared.
Results
In 9 of the 12 domains, nurses and administrators differed in their responses. Administrators believed that nurses have insufficient knowledge and skills to perform HH, whereas the nurses were confident they had the required knowledge and skills. Nurses focused on immediate consequences, whereas administrators highlighted long-term outcomes of the system. Nurses concentrated foremost on their personal safety and their families’ safety as a source of motivation to perform HH, whereas administrators identified professional commitment, incentives, and goal setting. Administrators stated that the staff do not have the decision processes in place to judge whether HH is necessary or not. They also highlighted the positive aspects of teams as a social influence, whereas nurses were not interested in group conformity or being compared to others. Nurses described the importance of individual feedback and self-monitoring in order to increase their performance, whereas administrators reported different views.
Conclusions
This study highlights the benefits of using a structured approach based on psychological theory to inform an implementation plan for a behavior change intervention. This work is an essential step towards systematically identifying factors affecting nurses’ behaviour associated with HH.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-77
PMCID: PMC3503739  PMID: 22929925
Hand hygiene; Knowledge translation; Compliance; Behaviour change; Electronic monitoring
5.  Barriers and Benefits Associated with Nurses Information Seeking Related to Patient Education Needs on Clinical Nursing Units 
The Open Nursing Journal  2011;5:24-30.
The purpose of this study was to answer the following two questions: What are clinical nurses’ rationales for their approaches to finding patient educational materials on the web? What are perceived barriers and benefits associated with the use of web-based information resources for patient education in the context of nursing clinical practice?
Over 179 individual data units were analyzed to understand clinical nurses’ rationales for their approaches to find patient educational materials on the web. Rationales were defined as those underlying catalysts or activators leading to an information need. Analyses found that the primary reasons why clinical nurses conducted web-based information searches included direct patient requests ( 9 requests), colleague requests (6 requests), building patient materials collections (4), patients’ family requests (3), routine teaching (1), personal development (1), or staff development (1). From these data, four broad themes emerged: professional reasons, personal reasons, technology reasons, and organization reasons for selecting information resources. Content analysis identified 306 individual data units representing either ‘benefits’ (178 units) or ‘barriers’ (128) to the nurses’ use of web resources for on-unit patient care. Inter-rater reliability was assessed and found to be excellent (r = 0.943 to 0.961). The primary themes that emerged as barriers to the used of web-based resources included: 1) time requirements to perform a search, 2) nurses’ experience and knowledge about the resources or required technology, 3) specific characteristics of individuals electronic information resources, and 4) organizational procedures and policies. Three primary themes that represented the benefits of using web-based resources were also identified: 1) past experiences and knowledge of a specific resource or the required technologies, 2) availability and accessibility on the unit, and 3) specific characteristics of individual information tool. In many cases, nurses commented on specific characteristics or features of favorite information resources. Favorite sites included a variety or reputable health care organizations that displayed context in text, audio, and/or video. In addition such sites were described as easy-to read and provided content related to patient-focused information or specific content such as toll free telephone contact numbers.
Information searching is the interaction between and among information users and computer-based information systems. Information seeking is becoming an important part of the knowledge work of nurses. Information seeking and searching intersects with the field of human computer interaction (HCI), which focuses on all aspects of human, and computer interactions. Users of an information system are understood as “actors” in situations, with a set of skills and shared practices based on work experiences with others. Designing better tools and developing information searching strategies that support, extend, and transform practices, begins by asking: Who are the users? What are the tasks? What is the interplay between the technology and the organization of the task? This study contributes fundamental data and information about the rationales nurses use in information seeking tasks. In addition it provides empirical evidences regarding barriers and benefits of information seeking in the context of patient education needs in inpatient clinical settings.
doi:10.2174/1874434601105010024
PMCID: PMC3109700  PMID: 21660181
Health information systems; nurses’ information seeking; searching web-based knowledge resources; patient education.
6.  Task Shifting for Scale-up of HIV Care: Evaluation of Nurse-Centered Antiretroviral Treatment at Rural Health Centers in Rwanda 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(10):e1000163.
Fabienne Shumbusho and colleagues evaluate a task-shifting model of nurse-centered antiretroviral treatment prescribing in rural primary health centers in Rwanda and find that nurses can effectively and safely prescribe ART when given adequate training, mentoring, and support.
Background
The shortage of human resources for health, and in particular physicians, is one of the major barriers to achieve universal access to HIV care and treatment. In September 2005, a pilot program of nurse-centered antiretroviral treatment (ART) prescription was launched in three rural primary health centers in Rwanda. We retrospectively evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of this task-shifting model using descriptive data.
Methods and Findings
Medical records of 1,076 patients enrolled in HIV care and treatment services from September 2005 to March 2008 were reviewed to assess: (i) compliance with national guidelines for ART eligibility and prescription, and patient monitoring and (ii) key outcomes, such as retention, body weight, and CD4 cell count change at 6, 12, 18, and 24 mo after ART initiation. Of these, no ineligible patients were started on ART and only one patient received an inappropriate ART prescription. Of the 435 patients who initiated ART, the vast majority had adherence and side effects assessed at each clinic visit (89% and 84%, respectively). By March 2008, 390 (90%) patients were alive on ART, 29 (7%) had died, one (<1%) was lost to follow-up, and none had stopped treatment. Patient retention was about 92% by 12 mo and 91% by 24 mo. Depending on initial stage of disease, mean CD4 cell count increased between 97 and 128 cells/µl in the first 6 mo after treatment initiation and between 79 and 129 cells/µl from 6 to 24 mo of treatment. Mean weight increased significantly in the first 6 mo, between 1.8 and 4.3 kg, with no significant increases from 6 to 24 mo.
Conclusions
Patient outcomes in our pilot program compared favorably with other ART cohorts in sub-Saharan Africa and with those from a recent evaluation of the national ART program in Rwanda. These findings suggest that nurses can effectively and safely prescribe ART when given adequate training, mentoring, and support.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a serious health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. The virus attacks white blood cells that protect against infection, most commonly a type of white blood cell called CD4. When a person has been infected with HIV for a long time, the number of CD4 cells they have goes down, resulting in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), in which the person's immune system no longer functions effectively.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has divided the disease into four stages as it progresses, according to symptoms including weight loss and so-called opportunistic infections. These are known as clinical stage I, II, III, or IV but were revised and renamed 1, 2, 3, and 4 in September 2005. HIV infection and AIDS cannot be cured but they can be managed with antiretroviral treatment (ART). The WHO currently recommends that ART is begun when the CD4 count falls below 350.
Rwanda is a country situated in the central Africa with a population of around 9 million inhabitants; over 3% of the rural population and 7% of the urban population are infected with HIV. In 2007, the WHO estimated that 220,000 Rwandan children had lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Why Was This Study Done?
The WHO estimates that 9.7 million people with HIV in low- to middle-income countries need ART but at the end of 2007, only 30% of these, including in Rwanda, had access to treatment. In many low-income countries a major factor in this is a lack of doctors. Rwanda, for example, has one doctor per 50,000 inhabitants and one nurse per 3,900 inhabitants.
This situation has led the WHO to recommend “task shifting,” i.e., that the task of prescribing ART should be shifted from doctors to nurses so that more patients can be treated. This type of reorganization is well studied in high-income countries, but the researchers wanted to help develop a system for treating AIDS that would be effective and timely in a predominantly rural, low-income setting such as Rwanda.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In conjunction with the Rwandan Ministry of Health, the researchers developed and piloted a task-shifting program, in which one nurse in each of three rural Rwandan primary health centers (PHCs) was trained to examine HIV patients and prescribe ART in simple cases. Nurses had to complete more than 50 consultations observed by the doctor before being permitted to consult patients independently. More complex cases were referred to a doctor. The authors developed standard checklists, instructions, and evaluation forms to guide nurses and the doctors who supervised them once a week.
The authors evaluated the pilot program by reviewing the records of 1,076 patients who enrolled on it between September 2005 and March 2008. They looked to see whether the nurses had followed guidelines and monitored the patients correctly. They also considered health outcomes for the patients, such as their death rate, their body weight, their CD4 cell count, and whether they maintained contact with caregivers.
They found that by March 2008, 451 patients had been eligible for ART. 435 received treatment and none of the patients were prescribed ART when they should not have been. Only one prescription did not follow national guidelines.
At every visit, nurses were supposed to assess whether patients were taking their drugs and to monitor side effects. They did this and maintained records correctly for the vast majority of the 435 patients who were prescribed ART. 390 patients (over 90%) of the 435 prescribed receiving ART continued to take it and maintain contact with the pilot PHC's program. 29 patients died. Only one was lost to follow up and the others transferred to another ART site. The majority gained weight in the first six months and their CD4 cell counts rose. Outcomes, including death rate, were similar to those treated on the (doctor-led) Rwandan national ART program and other sub-Saharan African national (doctor-led) programs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The study suggests that nurses are able to prescribe ART safely and effectively in a rural sub-Saharan setting, given sufficient training, mentoring, and support. Nurse-led prescribing of ART could mean that timely, appropriate treatment reaches many more HIV patients. It would reduce the burden of HIV care for doctors, freeing their time for other duties, and the study is already being used by the Rwandan Ministry of Health as a basis for plans to adopt a task-shifting strategy for the national ART program.
The study does have some limitations. The pilot program was funded and designed as a health project to deliver ART in rural areas, rather than a research project to compare nurse-led and doctor-led ART programs. There was no group of equivalent patients treated by doctors rather than nurses for direct comparison, although the authors did compare outcomes with those achieved nationally for doctor-led ART. The most promising sites, nurses, and patients were selected for the pilot and careful monitoring may have been an additional motivation for the nurses and doctors taking part. Health professionals in a scaled-up program may not be as committed as those in the pilot, who were carefully monitored. In addition, the nature of the pilot, which lasted for under three years and recruited new patients throughout, meant that patients were followed up for relatively short periods.
The authors also warn that they did not consider in this study the changes task shifting will make to doctors' roles and the skills required of both doctors and nurses. They recommend that task shifting should be implemented as part of a wider investment in health systems, human resources, training, adapted medical records, tools, and protocols.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000163.
PLoS Medicine includes a page collecting together its recent articles on HIV infection and AIDS that includes research articles, perspectives, editorials, and policy forums
SciDev.net provides news, views, and information about science, technology, and the developing world, including a section specific to HIV/AIDs
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a downloadable booklet Task Shifting to Tackle Health Worker Shortages
The WHO offers information on HIV and AIDS (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) as well as health information and fact sheets on individual countries, including on Rwanda
The UNAIDS/WHO working group on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Surveillance gathers and publishes data on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in individual countries, including on Rwanda
AIDS.ORG provides information to help prevent HIV infections and to improve the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS. Factsheets on many aspects of HIV and AIDS are available. It is the official online publisher of AIDS Treatment News
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000163
PMCID: PMC2752160  PMID: 19823569
7.  Development and evaluation of evidence-based nursing (EBN) filters and related databases* 
Objectives: Difficulties encountered in the retrieval of evidence-based nursing (EBN) literature and recognition of terminology, research focus, and design differences between evidence-based medicine and nursing led to the realization that nursing needs its own filter strategies for evidence-based practice. This article describes the development and evaluation of filters that facilitate evidence-based nursing searches.
Methods: An inductive, multistep methodology was employed. A sleep search strategy was developed for uniform application to all filters for filter development and evaluation purposes. An EBN matrix was next developed as a framework to illustrate conceptually the placement of nursing-sensitive filters along two axes: horizontally, an adapted nursing process, and vertically, levels of evidence. Nursing diagnosis, patient outcomes, and primary data filters were developed recursively. Through an interface with the PubMed search engine, the EBN matrix filters were inserted into a database that executes filter searches, retrieves citations, and stores and updates retrieved citations sets hourly. For evaluation purposes, the filters were subjected to sensitivity and specificity analyses and retrieval set comparisons. Once the evaluation was complete, hyperlinks providing access to any one or a combination of completed filters to the EBN matrix were created. Subject searches on any topic may be applied to the filters, which interface with PubMed.
Results: Sensitivity and specificity for the combined nursing diagnosis and primary data filter were 64% and 99%, respectively; for the patient outcomes filter, the results were 75% and 71%, respectively. Comparisons were made between the EBN matrix filters (nursing diagnosis and primary data) and PubMed's Clinical Queries (diagnosis and sensitivity) filters. Additional comparisons examined publication types and indexing differences. Review articles accounted for the majority of the publication type differences, because “review” was accepted by the CQ but was “NOT'd” by the EBN filter. Indexing comparisons revealed that although the term “nursing diagnosis” is in Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), the nursing diagnoses themselves (e.g., sleep deprivation, disturbed sleep pattern) are not indexed as nursing diagnoses. As a result, abstracts deemed to be appropriate nursing diagnosis by the EBN filter were not accepted by the CQ diagnosis filter.
Conclusions: The EBN filter capture of desired articles may be enhanced by further refinement to achieve a greater degree of filter sensitivity. Retrieval set comparisons revealed publication type differences and indexing issues. The EBN matrix filter “NOT'd” out “review,” while the CQ filter did not. Indexing issues were identified that explained the retrieval of articles deemed appropriate by the EBN filter matrix but not included in the CQ retrieval. These results have MeSH definition and indexing implications as well as implications for clinical decision support in nursing practice.
PMCID: PMC545129  PMID: 15685282
8.  A Qualitative Study of the Work Environments of Mexican Nurses 
Background
Studies of the nursing work environment are increasingly common in developed countries, but few exist in developing countries. Because of resource differences between the two contexts, researchers need to clarify what aspects of the work environments are similar and different.
Objectives
To study the perspectives of Mexican nurses about their work environments to determine similarities and differences to results from developed world studies.
Design
A secondary, directed content analysis of qualitative data from 46 Spanish language interviews using workplace-oriented themes
Setting
Purposively selected Mexican states from four regions of the country that reflect the country’s socioeconomic differences.
Participants
Practicing Mexican nurses with at least one year of clinical experience and currently working in nursing. Participants were recruited through convenience and snowball sampling techniques.
Methods
Initial data collection occurred in 2006 and 2008 during a broader study about professionalization processes that occurred in Mexican nursing between 1980 and 2005. The secondary, directed content analysis focused on an in-depth exploration of a central theme that emerged from the two original studies: The Workplace. The directed content analysis used themes from the global nursing work environment literature to structure the analysis: Professional relationships, organizational administrative practices, and quality of care and services.
Results
The three themes from the global literature were relevant for the Mexican context and a new one emerged related to hiring practices. By category, the same factors that created positive or negative perceptions of the work environment matched findings from other international studies conducted in developed countries. The descriptors of the category, however, had different conceptual meanings that illustrate the health system challenges in Mexico.
Conclusions
Findings from this study suggest that studies that seek to measure nursing work environments will most likely apply in Mexico and other Latin American or middle-income countries. Instruments designed to measure the work environment of nurses in these countries may prove relevant in those contexts, but require careful adaptation and systematic translations to ensure it.
doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.02.001
PMCID: PMC3383907  PMID: 22386989
Cross-language research; Mexico; nurses; secondary analysis; qualitative research; work-environment
9.  VA QUERI Informatics Paper 
Objective: This multisite study compared the perceptions of three stakeholder groups regarding information technologies as barriers to and facilitators of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs).
Design: The study settings were 18 U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. A purposive sample of 322 individuals participated in 50 focus groups segmented by profession and included administrators, physicians, and nurses. Focus group participants were selected based on their knowledge of practice guidelines and involvement in facility-wide guideline implementation.
Measurements: Descriptive content analysis of 1,500 pages of focus group transcripts.
Results: Eighteen themes clustered into four domains. Stakeholders were similar in discussing themes in the computer function domain most frequently but divergent in other domains, with workplace factors more often discussed by administrators, system design issues discussed most by nurses, and personal concerns discussed by physicians and nurses. Physicians and nurses most often discussed barriers, whereas administrators focused most often on facilitation. Facilitators included guideline maintenance and charting formats. Barriers included resources, attitudes, time and workload, computer glitches, computer complaints, data retrieval, and order entry. Themes with dual designations included documentation, patient records, decision support, performance evaluation, CPG implementation, computer literacy, essential data, and computer accessibility.
Conclusion: Stakeholders share many concerns regarding the relationships between information technologies and clinical guideline use. However, administrators, physicians, and nurses hold different opinions about specific facilitators and barriers. Health professionals' disparate perceptions could undermine guideline initiatives. Implementation plans should specifically incorporate actions to address these barriers and enhance the facilitative aspects of information technologies in clinical practice guideline use.
doi:10.1197/jamia.M1495
PMCID: PMC543828  PMID: 15492035
10.  A taxonomy of nursing care organization models in hospitals 
Background
Over the last decades, converging forces in hospital care, including cost-containment policies, rising healthcare demands and nursing shortages, have driven the search for new operational models of nursing care delivery that maximize the use of available nursing resources while ensuring safe, high-quality care. Little is known, however, about the distinctive features of these emergent nursing care models. This article contributes to filling this gap by presenting a theoretically and empirically grounded taxonomy of nursing care organization models in the context of acute care units in Quebec and comparing their distinctive features.
Methods
This study was based on a survey of 22 medical units in 11 acute care facilities in Quebec. Data collection methods included questionnaire, interviews, focus groups and administrative data census. The analytical procedures consisted of first generating unit profiles based on qualitative and quantitative data collected at the unit level, then applying hierarchical cluster analysis to the units’ profile data.
Results
The study identified four models of nursing care organization: two professional models that draw mainly on registered nurses as professionals to deliver nursing services and reflect stronger support to nurses’ professional practice, and two functional models that draw more significantly on licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and assistive staff (orderlies) to deliver nursing services and are characterized by registered nurses’ perceptions that the practice environment is less supportive of their professional work.
Conclusions
This study showed that medical units in acute care hospitals exhibit diverse staff mixes, patterns of skill use, work environment design, and support for innovation. The four models reflect not only distinct approaches to dealing with the numerous constraints in the nursing care environment, but also different degrees of approximations to an “ideal” nursing professional practice model described by some leaders in the contemporary nursing literature. While the two professional models appear closer to this ideal, the two functional models are farther removed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-286
PMCID: PMC3471046  PMID: 22929127
11.  How can the practice nurse be more involved in the care of the chronically ill? The perspectives of GPs, patients and practice nurses 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:14.
Background
A well established "midlevel" of patient care, such as nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants, exits in many countries like the US, Canada, and Australia.
In Germany, however there is only one kind of profession assisting the physician in practices, the practice nurse. Little is known about the present involvement of practice nurses in patients' care in Germany and about the attitudes of GPs, assistants and patients concerning an increased involvement. The aim of our study was to get qualitative information on the extent to which practice nurses are currently involved in the treatment of patients and about possibilities of increased involvement as well as on barriers of increased involvement.
Methods
We performed qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 20 GPs, 20 practice nurses and 20 patients in the Heidelberg area. The interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed and content-analysed with ATLAS.ti.
Results
Practice nurses are only marginally involved in the treatment of patients. GPs as well as patients were very sceptical about increased involvement in care. Patients were sceptical about nurses' professional background and feared a worsening of the patient doctor relationship. GPs also complained about the nurses' deficient education concerning medical knowledge. They feared a lack of time as well as a missing reimbursement for the efforts of an increased involvement. Practice nurses were mostly willing to be more involved, regarding it as an appreciation of their role. Important barriers were lack of time, overload with administrative work, and a lack of professional knowledge.
Conclusion
Practice nurses were only little involved in patient care. GPs were more sceptical than patients regarding an increased involvement. One possible area, accepted by all interviewed groups, was patient education as for instance dietary counselling. New treatment approaches as the chronic care model will require a team approach which currently only marginally exists in the German health care system. Better medical education of practice nurses is indispensable, but GPs also have to accept that they cannot fulfil the requirement of future care alone.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-7-14
PMCID: PMC1475585  PMID: 16515692
12.  e-Health, m-Health and healthier social media reform: the big scale view 
Introduction
In the upcoming decade, digital platforms will be the backbone of a strategic revolution in the way medical services are provided, affecting both healthcare providers and patients. Digital-based patient-centered healthcare services allow patients to actively participate in managing their own care, in times of health as well as illness, using personally tailored interactive tools. Such empowerment is expected to increase patients’ willingness to adopt actions and lifestyles that promote health as well as improve follow-up and compliance with treatment in cases of chronic illness. Clalit Health Services (CHS) is the largest HMO in Israel and second largest world-wide. Through its 14 hospitals, 1300 primary and specialized clinics, and 650 pharmacies, CHS provides comprehensive medical care to the majority of Israel’s population (above 4 million members). CHS e-Health wing focuses on deepening patient involvement in managing health, through personalized digital interactive tools. Currently, CHS e-Health wing provides e-health services for 1.56 million unique patients monthly with 2.4 million interactions every month (August 2011). Successful implementation of e-Health solutions is not a sum of technology, innovation and health; rather it’s the expertise of tailoring knowledge and leadership capabilities in multidisciplinary areas: clinical, ethical, psychological, legal, comprehension of patient and medical team engagement etc. The Google Health case excellently demonstrates this point. On the other hand, our success with CHS is a demonstration that e-Health can be enrolled effectively and fast with huge benefits for both patients and medical teams, and with a robust business model.
CHS e-Health core components
They include:
1. The personal health record layer (what the patient can see) presents patients with their own medical history as well as the medical history of their preadult children, including diagnoses, allergies, vaccinations, laboratory results with interpretations in layman’s terms, medications with clear, straightforward explanations regarding dosing instructions, important side effects, contraindications, such as lactation etc., and other important medical information. All personal e-Health services require identification and authorization.
2. The personal knowledge layer (what the patient should know) presents patients with personally tailored recommendations for preventative medicine and health promotion. For example, diabetic patients are push notified regarding their yearly eye exam. The various health recommendations include: occult blood testing, mammography, lipid profile etc. Each recommendation contains textual, visual and interactive content components in order to promote engagement and motivate the patient to actually change his health behaviour.
3. The personal health services layer (what the patient can do) enables patients to schedule clinic visits, order chronic prescriptions, e-consult their physician via secured e-mail, set SMS medication reminders, e-consult a pharmacist regarding personal medications. Consultants’ answers are sent securely to the patients’ personal mobile device.
On December 2009 CHS launched secured, web based, synchronous medical consultation via video conference. Currently 11,780 e-visits are performed monthly (May 2011). The medical encounter includes e-prescription and referral capabilities which are biometrically signed by the physician. On December 2010 CHS launched a unique mobile health platform, which is one of the most comprehensive personal m-Health applications world-wide. An essential advantage of mobile devices is their potential to bridge the digital divide. Currently, CHS m-Health platform is used by more than 45,000 unique users, with 75,000 laboratory results views/month, 1100 m-consultations/month and 9000 physician visit scheduling/month.
4. The Bio-Sensing layer (what physiological data the patient can populate) includes diagnostic means that allow remote physical examination, bio-sensors that broadcast various physiological measurements, and smart homecare devices, such as e-Pill boxes that gives seniors, patients and their caregivers the ability to stay at home and live life to its fullest. Monitored data is automatically transmitted to the patient’s Personal Health Record and to relevant medical personnel.
The monitoring layer is embedded in the chronic disease management platform, and in the interactive health promotion and wellness platform. It includes tailoring of consumer-oriented medical devices and service provided by various professional personnel—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and more.
5. The Social layer (what the patient can share). Social media networks triggered an essential change at the humanity ‘genome’ level, yet to be further defined in the upcoming years. Social media has huge potential in promoting health as it combines fun, simple yet extraordinary user experience, and bio-social-feedback. There are two major challenges in leveraging health care through social networks:
a. Our personal health information is the cornerstone for personalizing healthier lifestyle, disease management and preventative medicine. We naturally see our personal health data as a super-private territory. So, how do we bring the power of our private health information, currently locked within our Personal Health Record, into social media networks without offending basic privacy issues?
b. Disease management and preventive medicine are currently neither considered ‘cool’ nor ‘fun’ or ‘potentially highly viral’ activities; yet, health is a major issue of everybody’s life. It seems like we are missing a crucial element with a huge potential in health behavioural change—the Fun Theory. Social media platforms comprehends user experience tools that potentially could break current misconception, and engage people in the daily task of taking better care of themselves.
CHS e-Health innovation team characterized several break-through applications in this unexplored territory within social media networks, fusing personal health and social media platforms without offending privacy. One of the most crucial issues regarding adoption of e-health and m-health platforms is change management. Being a ‘hot’ innovative ‘gadget’ is far from sufficient for changing health behaviours at the individual and population levels.
CHS health behaviour change management methodology includes 4 core elements:
1. Engaging two completely different populations: patients, and medical teams. e-Health applications must present true added value for both medical teams and patients, engaging them through understanding and assimilating “what’s really in it for me”. Medical teams are further subdivided into physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrative personnel—each with their own driving incentive. Resistance to change is an obstacle in many fields but it is particularly true in the conservative health industry. To successfully manage a large scale persuasive process, we treat intra-organizational human resources as “Change Agents”. Harnessing the persuasive power of ~40,000 employees requires engaging them as the primary target group. Successful recruitment has the potential of converting each patient-medical team interaction into an exposure opportunity to the new era of participatory medicine via e-health and m-health channels.
2. Implementation waves: every group of digital health products that are released at the same time are seen as one project. Each implementation wave leverages the focus of the organization and target populations to a defined time span. There are three major and three minor implementation waves a year.
3. Change-Support Arrow: a structured infrastructure for every implementation wave. The sub-stages in this strategy include:
Cross organizational mapping and identification of early adopters and stakeholders relevant to the implementation wave
Mapping positive or negative perceptions and designing specific marketing approaches for the distinct target groups
Intra and extra organizational marketing
Conducting intensive training and presentation sessions for groups of implementers
Running conflict-prevention activities, such as advanced tackling of potential union resistance
Training change-agents with resistance-management behavioural techniques, focused intervention for specific incidents and for key opinion leaders
Extensive presence in the clinics during the launch period, etc.
The entire process is monitored and managed continuously by a review team.
4. Closing Phase: each wave is analyzed and a “lessons-learned” session concludes the changes required in the modus operandi of the e-health project team.
PMCID: PMC3571141
e-Health; mobile health; personal health record; online visit; patient empowerment; knowledge prescription
13.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
Conclusions
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200.
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
14.  Growing a Professional Network to Over 3000 Members in Less Than 4 Years: Evaluation of InspireNet, British Columbia’s Virtual Nursing Health Services Research Network 
Background
Use of Web 2.0 and social media technologies has become a new area of research among health professionals. Much of this work has focused on the use of technologies for health self-management and the ways technologies support communication between care providers and consumers. This paper addresses a new use of technology in providing a platform for health professionals to support professional development, increase knowledge utilization, and promote formal/informal professional communication. Specifically, we report on factors necessary to attract and sustain health professionals’ use of a network designed to increase nurses’ interest in and use of health services research and to support knowledge utilization activities in British Columbia, Canada.
Objective
“InspireNet”, a virtual professional network for health professionals, is a living laboratory permitting documentation of when and how professionals take up Web 2.0 and social media. Ongoing evaluation documents our experiences in establishing, operating, and evaluating this network.
Methods
Overall evaluation methods included (1) tracking website use, (2) conducting two member surveys, and (3) soliciting member feedback through focus groups and interviews with those who participated in electronic communities of practice (eCoPs) and other stakeholders. These data have been used to learn about the types of support that seem relevant to network growth.
Results
Network growth exceeded all expectations. Members engaged with varying aspects of the network’s virtual technologies, such as teams of professionals sharing a common interest, research teams conducting their work, and instructional webinars open to network members. Members used wikis, blogs, and discussion groups to support professional work, as well as a members’ database with contact information and areas of interest. The database is accessed approximately 10 times per day. InspireNet public blog posts are accessed roughly 500 times each. At the time of writing, 21 research teams conduct their work virtually using the InspireNet platform; 10 topic-based Action Teams meet to address issues of mutual concern. Nursing and other health professionals, even those who rated themselves as computer literate, required significant mentoring and support in their efforts to adopt their practice to a virtual environment. There was a steep learning curve for professionals to learn to work in a virtual environment and to benefit from the available technologies.
Conclusions
Virtual professional networks can be positioned to make a significant contribution to ongoing professional practice and to creating environments supportive of information sharing, mentoring, and learning across geographical boundaries. Nonetheless, creation of a Web 2.0 and social media platform is not sufficient, in and of itself, to attract or sustain a vibrant community of professionals interested in improving their practice. Essential support includes instruction in the use of Web-based activities and time management, a biweekly e-Newsletter, regular communication from leaders, and an annual face-to-face conference.
doi:10.2196/jmir.3018
PMCID: PMC3961696  PMID: 24566806
social networking; social media; nursing; health services; research; education
15.  Value of intensified nursing 
The concept "intensified nursing" is mentioned in differentiation to concepts of "nursing care" or "nursing" which intensifies resources or patient contact. Especially psychic and social needs of patients are very appreciated in nursing. A similar type of nursing is known under the concept "advanced nursing practice" (ANP) which means, that a specialised, academically trained nurse offers an extended nursing care in which a focus on the published knowledge of evidence based research is made.
From the thin literature to this topic a selection of predetermined topics was analysed where at least two articles with a sufficient high methodical quality were available. The selected topic groups were: „Infant and paediatric nursing", "gerontology" and "oncology". Generally the five publications concerning infant and paediatric nursing could conclusive show a benefit of intensified nursing. Further research is still needed to prove intensified nursing care. Two publications could be found to the gerontological intensified nursing; both used an extended nursing model and an enlarged use of resources. Both studies demonstrated a measurable success in the applied parameters. Two studies also could be analysed in the oncological field in which successes were also provable by the applied parameters. The success was given especially in a higher patient satisfaction, one study showed an improved scheduling (time planning) of nurses.
There was not one article concerning economic questions of intensified nursing care. It has to be taken into account that the financial resources have to be used effectively also in nursing nowadays. It has to be assumed that the costs are driven by increased use of resources. Savings can be achieved, however, in the form of avoided therapies and days in hospital by intensified nursing. The intensified nursing can be considered as similar cost-effective as conventional models of nursing.
Ethically it is necessary to consider that the possibilities of the intensified nursing should be exhausted as much as possible for the patients. The daily work is limited, due to restrictions of resource. This means a conflict for nurses between knowledge and the predefined resource requirements which often leaded to overtaxing and dissatisfaction. It is desirable that decision makers of the health policy appreciate the evidence and promote intensified nursing care models.
Nursing science has to do special research to prove the meaning and effectiveness of intensified nursing and establish this in the health care delivery system.
PMCID: PMC3011351  PMID: 21289955
16.  Inclusion of Ethical Issues in Dementia Guidelines: A Thematic Text Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(8):e1001498.
Background
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) aim to improve professionalism in health care. However, current CPG development manuals fail to address how to include ethical issues in a systematic and transparent manner. The objective of this study was to assess the representation of ethical issues in general CPGs on dementia care.
Methods and Findings
To identify national CPGs on dementia care, five databases of guidelines were searched and national psychiatric associations were contacted in August 2011 and in June 2013. A framework for the assessment of the identified CPGs' ethical content was developed on the basis of a prior systematic review of ethical issues in dementia care. Thematic text analysis and a 4-point rating score were employed to assess how ethical issues were addressed in the identified CPGs. Twelve national CPGs were included. Thirty-one ethical issues in dementia care were identified by the prior systematic review. The proportion of these 31 ethical issues that were explicitly addressed by each CPG ranged from 22% to 77%, with a median of 49.5%. National guidelines differed substantially with respect to (a) which ethical issues were represented, (b) whether ethical recommendations were included, (c) whether justifications or citations were provided to support recommendations, and (d) to what extent the ethical issues were explained.
Conclusions
Ethical issues were inconsistently addressed in national dementia guidelines, with some guidelines including most and some including few ethical issues. Guidelines should address ethical issues and how to deal with them to help the medical profession understand how to approach care of patients with dementia, and for patients, their relatives, and the general public, all of whom might seek information and advice in national guidelines. There is a need for further research to specify how detailed ethical issues and their respective recommendations can and should be addressed in dementia guidelines.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
In the past, doctors tended to rely on their own experience to choose the best treatment for their patients. Faced with a patient with dementia (a brain disorder that affects short-term memory and the ability tocarry out normal daily activities), for example, a doctor would use his/her own experience to help decide whether the patient should remain at home or would be better cared for in a nursing home. Similarly, the doctor might have to decide whether antipsychotic drugs might be necessary to reduce behavioral or psychological symptoms such as restlessness or shouting. However, over the past two decades, numerous evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have been produced by governmental bodies and medical associations that aim to improve standards of clinical competence and professionalism in health care. During the development of each guideline, experts search the medical literature for the current evidence about the diagnosis and treatment of a disease, evaluate the quality of that evidence, and then make recommendations based on the best evidence available.
Why Was This Study Done?
Currently, CPG development manuals do not address how to include ethical issues in CPGs. A health-care professional is ethical if he/she behaves in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the medical profession. More specifically, medical professionalism is based on a set of binding ethical principles—respect for patient autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance (the “do no harm” principle), and justice. In particular, CPG development manuals do not address disease-specific ethical issues (DSEIs), clinical ethical situations that are relevant to the management of a specific disease. So, for example, a DSEI that arises in dementia care is the conflict between the ethical principles of non-malfeasance and patient autonomy (freedom-to-move-at-will). Thus, healthcare professionals may have to decide to physically restrain a patient with dementia to prevent the patient doing harm to him- or herself or to someone else. Given the lack of guidance on how to address ethical issues in CPG development manuals, in this thematic text analysis, the researchers assess the representation of ethical issues in CPGs on general dementia care. Thematic text analysis uses a framework for the assessment of qualitative data (information that is word-based rather than number-based) that involves pinpointing, examining, and recording patterns (themes) among the available data.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 12 national CPGs on dementia care by searching guideline databases and by contacting national psychiatric associations. They developed a framework for the assessment of the ethical content in these CPGs based on a previous systematic review of ethical issues in dementia care. Of the 31 DSEIs included by the researchers in their analysis, the proportion that were explicitly addressed by each CPG ranged from 22% (Switzerland) to 77% (USA); on average the CPGs explicitly addressed half of the DSEIs. Four DSEIs—adequate consideration of advanced directives in decision making, usage of GPS and other monitoring techniques, covert medication, and dealing with suicidal thinking—were not addressed in at least 11 of the CPGs. The inclusion of recommendations on how to deal with DSEIs ranged from 10% of DSEIs covered in the Swiss CPG to 71% covered in the US CPG. Overall, national guidelines differed substantially with respect to which ethical issues were included, whether ethical recommendations were included, whether justifications or citations were provided to support recommendations, and to what extent the ethical issues were clearly explained.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that national CPGs on dementia care already address clinical ethical issues but that the extent to which the spectrum of DSEIs is considered varies widely within and between CPGs. They also indicate that recommendations on how to deal with DSEIs often lack the evidence that health-care professionals use to justify their clinical decisions. The researchers suggest that this situation can and should be improved, although more research is needed to determine how ethical issues and recommendations should be addressed in dementia guidelines. A more systematic and transparent inclusion of DSEIs in CPGs for dementia (and for other conditions) would further support the concept of medical professionalism as a core element of CPGs, note the researchers, but is also important for patients and their relatives who might turn to national CPGs for information and guidance at a stressful time of life.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001498.
Wikipedia contains a page on clinical practice guidelines (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The US National Guideline Clearinghouse provides information on national guidelines, including CPGs for dementia
The Guidelines International Network promotes the systematic development and application of clinical practice guidelines
The American Medical Association provides information about medical ethics; the British Medical Association provides information on all aspects of ethics and includes an essential tool kit that introduces common ethical problems and practical ways to deal with them
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about dementia, including a personal story about dealing with dementia
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about dementia and about Alzheimers disease, a specific type of dementia (in English and Spanish)
The UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics provides the report Dementia: ethical issues and additional information on the public consultation on ethical issues in dementia care
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001498
PMCID: PMC3742442  PMID: 23966839
17.  Pitfalls in computer housekeeping by doctors and nurses in KwaZulu-Natal: No malicious intent 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14(Suppl 1):S8.
Introduction
Information and communication technologies are becoming an integral part of medical practice, research and administration and their use will grow as telemedicine and electronic medical record use become part of routine practice. Security in maintaining patient data is important and there is a statuary obligation to do so, but few health professionals have been trained on how to achieve this. There is no information on the use of computers and email by doctors and nurses in South Africa in the workplace and at home, and whether their current computer practices meets legal and ethical requirements. The aims of this study were to determine the use of computers by healthcare practitioners in the workplace and home; the use and approach to data storage, encryption and security of patient data and patient email; and the use of informed consent to transmit data by email.
Methods
A self-administered questionnaire was administered to 400 health care providers from the state and private health care sectors. The questionnaire covered computer use in the workplace and at home, sharing of computers, data encryption and storage, email use, encryption of emails and storage, and the use of informed consent for email communication.
Results
193 doctors and 207 nurses in the private and public sectors completed the questionnaire. Forty (10%) of participants do not use a computer. A third of health professionals were the only users of computers at work or at home. One hundred and ninety-eight respondents (55%) did not know if the data on the computers were encrypted, 132 (36.7%) knew that the data were not encrypted and 30 (8.3%) individuals knew that the data on the computers they were using were encrypted. Few doctors, 58 (16%), received emails from patients, with doctors more likely to receive emails from patients than nurses (p = 0.0025). Thirty-one percent of individuals did not respond to the emails. Emails were saved by 40 (69%) recipients but only 5 (12.5%) doctors encrypted the messages, 19 (47.5%) individuals knowingly did not encrypt and 16 (40.0%) did not know if they encrypted the data. While 20% of health professionals have emailed patient data, but only 41.7% gained consent to do so.
Conclusions
Most health professionals as sampled in South Africa are not compliant with the National Health Act or the Electronic Communications Transactions Act of South Africa or guidelines from regulatory bodies when managing patient data on computers. Many appear ignorant or lack the ability to comply with simple data security procedures.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-S1-S8
PMCID: PMC3878337  PMID: 24565043
18.  Adoption and sustainability of decision support for patients facing health decisions: an implementation case study in nursing 
Background
Effective interventions prepare patients for making values-sensitive health decisions by helping them become informed and clarifying their values for each of the options. However, patient decision support interventions have not been widely implemented and little is known about effective models for delivering them to patients. The purpose of this study was to describe call centre nurses' adoption of a decision support protocol into practice following exposure to an implementation intervention and to identify factors influencing sustainable nursing practice changes.
Methods
Exploratory case study at a Canadian province-wide call centre guided by the Ottawa Model of Research Use. Data sources included a survey of nurses who participated in an implementation intervention (n = 31), 2 focus groups with nurses, interviews with 4 administrators, and a document review.
Results
Twenty-five of 31 nurses responded to the survey measuring adoption of decision support in practice. Of the 25 nurses, 11 had used the decision support protocol in their practice within one month of the intervention. Twenty-two of the 25 intended to use it within the next three months. Although some nurses found it challenging to begin using the protocol, most nurses reported that it: a) helped them recognize callers needing decision support; b) changed their approach to handling these calls; and c) was a positive enhancement to their practice. Strategies identified to promote sustainability of practice changes included integration of the decision support protocol in the call centre database, streamlining the patient decision aids for easier use via telephone, clarifying the administrative direction for the call centre's program, creating a call length guideline specific for these calls, incorporating decision support training in the staff development plan, and informing the public of this enhanced service.
Conclusion
Although most nurses adopted the decision support protocol for coaching callers facing values-sensitive decisions, to sustain practice changes, interventions are required to manage barriers in the practice environment and integrate decision support into the organization's policies, resources, and routine activities.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-1-17
PMCID: PMC1564029  PMID: 16930476
19.  Organization-wide adoption of computerized provider order entry systems: a study based on diffusion of innovations theory 
Background
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems have been introduced to reduce medication errors, increase safety, improve work-flow efficiency, and increase medical service quality at the moment of prescription. Making the impact of CPOE systems more observable may facilitate their adoption by users. We set out to examine factors associated with the adoption of a CPOE system for inter-organizational and intra-organizational care.
Methods
The diffusion of innovation theory was used to understand physicians' and nurses' attitudes and thoughts about implementation and use of the CPOE system. Two online survey questionnaires were distributed to all physicians and nurses using a CPOE system in county-wide healthcare organizations. The number of complete questionnaires analyzed was 134 from 200 nurses (67.0%) and 176 from 741 physicians (23.8%). Data were analyzed using descriptive-analytical statistical methods.
Results
More nurses (56.7%) than physicians (31.3%) stated that the CPOE system introduction had worked well in their clinical setting (P < 0.001). Similarly, more physicians (73.9%) than nurses (50.7%) reported that they found the system not adapted to their specific professional practice (P = < 0.001). Also more physicians (25.0%) than nurses (13.4%) stated that they did want to return to the previous system (P = 0.041). We found that in particular the received relative advantages of the CPOE system were estimated to be significantly (P < 0.001) higher among nurses (39.6%) than physicians (16.5%). However, physicians' agreements with the compatibility of the CPOE and with its complexity were significantly higher than the nurses (P < 0.001).
Conclusions
Qualifications for CPOE adoption as defined by three attributes of diffusion of innovation theory were not satisfied in the study setting. CPOE systems are introduced as a response to the present limitations in paper-based systems. In consequence, user expectations are often high on their relative advantages as well as on a low level of complexity. Building CPOE systems therefore requires designs that can provide rather important additional advantages, e.g. by preventing prescription errors and ultimately improving patient safety and safety of clinical work. The decision-making process leading to the implementation and use of CPOE systems in healthcare therefore has to be improved. As any change in health service settings usually faces resistance, we emphasize that CPOE system designers and healthcare decision-makers should continually collect users' feedback about the systems, while not forgetting that it also is necessary to inform the users about the potential benefits involved.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-9-52
PMCID: PMC2809050  PMID: 20043843
20.  The training and development needs of nurses in Indonesia: paper 3 of 3 
Background
Indonesia's recent economic and political history has left a legacy of widespread poverty and serious health problems, and has contributed to marked inequalities in health care. One means of responding to these challenges has been through a reconsideration of the professional roles of nurses, to enable them to deal with the range and complexity of health problems. However, there are currently a number of obstacles to achieving these aims: there is a serious shortfall in trained nurses; the majority of nurses have only limited education and preparation for the role; and there is no central registration of nurses, which means that it is impossible to regulate either the profession or the standards of care. This study aimed to establish the occupational profiles of each grade of nurse, identify their training and development needs and ascertain whether any differences existed between nurses working in different regions or within hospital or community settings.
Methods
An established and psychometrically valid questionnaire was administered to 524 nurses, covering three grades and coming from five provinces.
Results
Significant differences in job profile were found in nurses from different provinces, suggesting that the nature of the role is determined to some degree by the geographical location of practice. The roles of hospital and community nurses, and the different grades of nurse, were fairly similar. All nurses reported significant training needs for all 40 tasks, although these did not vary greatly between grade of nurse. The training needs of nurses from each of the provinces were quite distinct, while those of hospital nurses were greater than those of community nurses.
Conclusion
The results suggest that the role of the nurse is not as diverse as might be expected, given the different levels of preparation and training and the diversity of their work environments. This may reflect the lack of a central registration system and quality framework, which would normally regulate clinical activities according to qualifications. The differences in training needs between subsections of the sample highlight the importance of identifying skills deficits and using this information to develop customized post-registration education programmes. Together, these results provide a rigorous and reliable approach to defining the occupational roles and continuing education needs of Indonesian nurses.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-4-10
PMCID: PMC1524804  PMID: 16630363
21.  Developing an efficient scheduling template of a chemotherapy treatment unit 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2011;4(10):575-588.
This study was undertaken to improve the performance of a Chemotherapy Treatment Unit by increasing the throughput and reducing the average patient’s waiting time. In order to achieve this objective, a scheduling template has been built. The scheduling template is a simple tool that can be used to schedule patients' arrival to the clinic. A simulation model of this system was built and several scenarios, that target match the arrival pattern of the patients and resources availability, were designed and evaluated. After performing detailed analysis, one scenario provide the best system’s performance. A scheduling template has been developed based on this scenario. After implementing the new scheduling template, 22.5% more patients can be served.
Introduction
CancerCare Manitoba is a provincially mandated cancer care agency. It is dedicated to provide quality care to those who have been diagnosed and are living with cancer. MacCharles Chemotherapy unit is specially built to provide chemotherapy treatment to the cancer patients of Winnipeg. In order to maintain an excellent service, it tries to ensure that patients get their treatment in a timely manner. It is challenging to maintain that goal because of the lack of a proper roster, the workload distribution and inefficient resource allotment. In order to maintain the satisfaction of the patients and the healthcare providers, by serving the maximum number of patients in a timely manner, it is necessary to develop an efficient scheduling template that matches the required demand with the availability of resources. This goal can be reached using simulation modelling. Simulation has proven to be an excellent modelling tool. It can be defined as building computer models that represent real world or hypothetical systems, and hence experimenting with these models to study system behaviour under different scenarios.1, 2
A study was undertaken at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario to identify the issues behind the long waiting time of a emergency room.3 A 20-­‐day field observation revealed that the availability of the staff physician and interaction affects the patient wait time. Jyväskylä et al.4 used simulation to test different process scenarios, allocate resources and perform activity-­‐based cost analysis in the Emergency Department (ED) at the Central Hospital. The simulation also supported the study of a new operational method, named "triage-team" method without interrupting the main system. The proposed triage team method categorises the entire patient according to the urgency to see the doctor and allows the patient to complete the necessary test before being seen by the doctor for the first time. The simulation study showed that it will decrease the throughput time of the patient and reduce the utilisation of the specialist and enable the ordering all the tests the patient needs right after arrival, thus quickening the referral to treatment.
Santibáñez et al.5 developed a discrete event simulation model of British Columbia Cancer Agency"s ambulatory care unit which was used to study the impact of scenarios considering different operational factors (delay in starting clinic), appointment schedule (appointment order, appointment adjustment, add-­‐ons to the schedule) and resource allocation. It was found that the best outcomes were obtained when not one but multiple changes were implemented simultaneously. Sepúlveda et al.6 studied the M. D. Anderson Cancer Centre Orlando, which is a cancer treatment facility and built a simulation model to analyse and improve flow process and increase capacity in the main facility. Different scenarios were considered like, transferring laboratory and pharmacy areas, adding an extra blood draw room and applying different scheduling techniques of patients. The study shows that by increasing the number of short-­‐term (four hours or less) patients in the morning could increase chair utilisation.
Discrete event simulation also helps improve a service where staff are ignorant about the behaviour of the system as a whole; which can also be described as a real professional system. Niranjon et al.7 used simulation successfully where they had to face such constraints and lack of accessible data. Carlos et al. 8 used Total quality management and simulation – animation to improve the quality of the emergency room. Simulation was used to cover the key point of the emergency room and animation was used to indicate the areas of opportunity required. This study revealed that a long waiting time, overload personnel and increasing withdrawal rate of patients are caused by the lack of capacity in the emergency room.
Baesler et al.9 developed a methodology for a cancer treatment facility to find stochastically a global optimum point for the control variables. A simulation model generated the output using a goal programming framework for all the objectives involved in the analysis. Later a genetic algorithm was responsible for performing the search for an improved solution. The control variables that were considered in this research are number of treatment chairs, number of drawing blood nurses, laboratory personnel, and pharmacy personnel. Guo et al. 10 presented a simulation framework considering demand for appointment, patient flow logic, distribution of resources, scheduling rules followed by the scheduler. The objective of the study was to develop a scheduling rule which will ensure that 95% of all the appointment requests should be seen within one week after the request is made to increase the level of patient satisfaction and balance the schedule of each doctor to maintain a fine harmony between "busy clinic" and "quiet clinic".
Huschka et al.11 studied a healthcare system which was about to change their facility layout. In this case a simulation model study helped them to design a new healthcare practice by evaluating the change in layout before implementation. Historical data like the arrival rate of the patients, number of patients visited each day, patient flow logic, was used to build the current system model. Later, different scenarios were designed which measured the changes in the current layout and performance.
Wijewickrama et al.12 developed a simulation model to evaluate appointment schedule (AS) for second time consultations and patient appointment sequence (PSEQ) in a multi-­‐facility system. Five different appointment rule (ARULE) were considered: i) Baily; ii) 3Baily; iii) Individual (Ind); iv) two patients at a time (2AtaTime); v) Variable Interval and (V-­‐I) rule. PSEQ is based on type of patients: Appointment patients (APs) and new patients (NPs). The different PSEQ that were studied in this study were: i) first-­‐ come first-­‐serve; ii) appointment patient at the beginning of the clinic (APBEG); iii) new patient at the beginning of the clinic (NPBEG); iv) assigning appointed and new patients in an alternating manner (ALTER); v) assigning a new patient after every five-­‐appointment patients. Also patient no show (0% and 5%) and patient punctuality (PUNCT) (on-­‐time and 10 minutes early) were also considered. The study found that ALTER-­‐Ind. and ALTER5-­‐Ind. performed best on 0% NOSHOW, on-­‐time PUNCT and 5% NOSHOW, on-­‐time PUNCT situation to reduce WT and IT per patient. As NOSHOW created slack time for waiting patients, their WT tends to reduce while IT increases due to unexpected cancellation. Earliness increases congestion whichin turn increases waiting time.
Ramis et al.13 conducted a study of a Medical Imaging Center (MIC) to build a simulation model which was used to improve the patient journey through an imaging centre by reducing the wait time and making better use of the resources. The simulation model also used a Graphic User Interface (GUI) to provide the parameters of the centre, such as arrival rates, distances, processing times, resources and schedule. The simulation was used to measure the waiting time of the patients in different case scenarios. The study found that assigning a common function to the resource personnel could improve the waiting time of the patients.
The objective of this study is to develop an efficient scheduling template that maximises the number of served patients and minimises the average patient's waiting time at the given resources availability. To accomplish this objective, we will build a simulation model which mimics the working conditions of the clinic. Then we will suggest different scenarios of matching the arrival pattern of the patients with the availability of the resources. Full experiments will be performed to evaluate these scenarios. Hence, a simple and practical scheduling template will be built based on the indentified best scenario. The developed simulation model is described in section 2, which consists of a description of the treatment room, and a description of the types of patients and treatment durations. In section 3, different improvement scenarios are described and their analysis is presented in section 4. Section 5 illustrates a scheduling template based on one of the improvement scenarios. Finally, the conclusion and future direction of our work is exhibited in section 6.
Simulation Model
A simulation model represents the actual system and assists in visualising and evaluating the performance of the system under different scenarios without interrupting the actual system. Building a proper simulation model of a system consists of the following steps.
Observing the system to understand the flow of the entities, key players, availability of resources and overall generic framework.
Collecting the data on the number and type of entities, time consumed by the entities at each step of their journey, and availability of resources.
After building the simulation model it is necessary to confirm that the model is valid. This can be done by confirming that each entity flows as it is supposed to and the statistical data generated by the simulation model is similar to the collected data.
Figure 1 shows the patient flow process in the treatment room. On the patient's first appointment, the oncologist comes up with the treatment plan. The treatment time varies according to the patient’s condition, which may be 1 hour to 10 hours. Based on the type of the treatment, the physician or the clinical clerk books an available treatment chair for that time period.
On the day of the appointment, the patient will wait until the booked chair is free. When the chair is free a nurse from that station comes to the patient, verifies the name and date of birth and takes the patient to a treatment chair. Afterwards, the nurse flushes the chemotherapy drug line to the patient's body which takes about five minutes and sets up the treatment. Then the nurse leaves to serve another patient. Chemotherapy treatment lengths vary from less than an hour to 10 hour infusions. At the end of the treatment, the nurse returns, removes the line and notifies the patient about the next appointment date and time which also takes about five minutes. Most of the patients visit the clinic to take care of their PICC line (a peripherally inserted central catheter). A PICC is a line that is used to inject the patient with the chemical. This PICC line should be regularly cleaned, flushed to maintain patency and the insertion site checked for signs of infection. It takes approximately 10–15 minutes to take care of a PICC line by a nurse.
Cancer Care Manitoba provided access to the electronic scheduling system, also known as "ARIA" which is comprehensive information and image management system that aggregates patient data into a fully-­‐electronic medical chart, provided by VARIAN Medical System. This system was used to find out how many patients are booked in every clinic day. It also reveals which chair is used for how many hours. It was necessary to search a patient's history to find out how long the patient spends on which chair. Collecting the snapshot of each patient gives the complete picture of a one day clinic schedule.
The treatment room consists of the following two main limited resources:
Treatment Chairs: Chairs that are used to seat the patients during the treatment.
Nurses: Nurses are required to inject the treatment line into the patient and remove it at the end of the treatment. They also take care of the patients when they feel uncomfortable.
Mc Charles Chemotherapy unit consists of 11 nurses, and 5 stations with the following description:
Station 1: Station 1 has six chairs (numbered 1 to 6) and two nurses. The two nurses work from 8:00 to 16:00.
Station 2: Station 2 has six chairs (7 to 12) and three nurses. Two nurses work from 8:00 to 16:00 and one nurse works from 12:00 to 20:00.
Station 3: Station 4 has six chairs (13 to 18) and two nurses. The two nurses work from 8:00 to 16:00.
Station 4: Station 4 has six chairs (19 to 24) and three nurses. One nurse works from 8:00 to 16:00. Another nurse works from 10:00 to 18:00.
Solarium Station: Solarium Station has six chairs (Solarium Stretcher 1, Solarium Stretcher 2, Isolation, Isolation emergency, Fire Place 1, Fire Place 2). There is only one nurse assigned to this station that works from 12:00 to 20:00. The nurses from other stations can help when need arises.
There is one more nurse known as the "float nurse" who works from 11:00 to 19:00. This nurse can work at any station. Table 1 summarises the working hours of chairs and nurses. All treatment stations start at 8:00 and continue until the assigned nurse for that station completes her shift.
Currently, the clinic uses a scheduling template to assign the patients' appointments. But due to high demand of patient appointment it is not followed any more. We believe that this template can be improved based on the availability of nurses and chairs. Clinic workload was collected from 21 days of field observation. The current scheduling template has 10 types of appointment time slot: 15-­‐minute, 1-­‐hour, 1.5-­‐hour, 2-­‐hour, 3-­‐hour, 4-­‐hour, 5-­‐hour, 6-­‐hour, 8-­‐hour and 10-­‐hour and it is designed to serve 95 patients. But when the scheduling template was compared with the 21 days observations, it was found that the clinic is serving more patients than it is designed for. Therefore, the providers do not usually follow the scheduling template. Indeed they very often break the time slots to accommodate slots that do not exist in the template. Hence, we find that some of the stations are very busy (mostly station 2) and others are underused. If the scheduling template can be improved, it will be possible to bring more patients to the clinic and reduce their waiting time without adding more resources.
In order to build or develop a simulation model of the existing system, it is necessary to collect the following data:
Types of treatment durations.
Numbers of patients in each treatment type.
Arrival pattern of the patients.
Steps that the patients have to go through in their treatment journey and required time of each step.
Using the observations of 2,155 patients over 21 days of historical data, the types of treatment durations and the number of patients in each type were estimated. This data also assisted in determining the arrival rate and the frequency distribution of the patients. The patients were categorised into six types. The percentage of these types and their associated service times distributions are determined too.
ARENA Rockwell Simulation Software (v13) was used to build the simulation model. Entities of the model were tracked to verify that the patients move as intended. The model was run for 30 replications and statistical data was collected to validate the model. The total number of patients that go though the model was compared with the actual number of served patients during the 21 days of observations.
Improvement Scenarios
After verifying and validating the simulation model, different scenarios were designed and analysed to identify the best scenario that can handle more patients and reduces the average patient's waiting time. Based on the clinic observation and discussion with the healthcare providers, the following constraints have been stated:
The stations are filled up with treatment chairs. Therefore, it is literally impossible to fit any more chairs in the clinic. Moreover, the stakeholders are not interested in adding extra chairs.
The stakeholders and the caregivers are not interested in changing the layout of the treatment room.
Given these constraints the options that can be considered to design alternative scenarios are:
Changing the arrival pattern of the patients: that will fit over the nurses' availability.
Changing the nurses' schedule.
Adding one full time nurse at different starting times of the day.
Figure 2 compares the available number of nurses and the number of patients' arrival during different hours of a day. It can be noticed that there is a rapid growth in the arrival of patients (from 13 to 17) between 8:00 to 10:00 even though the clinic has the equal number of nurses during this time period. At 12:00 there is a sudden drop of patient arrival even though there are more available nurses. It is clear that there is an imbalance in the number of available nurses and the number of patient arrivals over different hours of the day. Consequently, balancing the demand (arrival rate of patients) and resources (available number of nurses) will reduce the patients' waiting time and increases the number of served patients. The alternative scenarios that satisfy the above three constraints are listed in Table 2. These scenarios respect the following rules:
Long treatments (between 4hr to 11hr) have to be scheduled early in the morning to avoid working overtime.
Patients of type 1 (15 minutes to 1hr treatment) are the most common. They can be fitted in at any time of the day because they take short treatment time. Hence, it is recommended to bring these patients in at the middle of the day when there are more nurses.
Nurses get tired at the end of the clinic day. Therefore, fewer patients should be scheduled at the late hours of the day.
In Scenario 1, the arrival pattern of the patient was changed so that it can fit with the nurse schedule. This arrival pattern is shown Table 3. Figure 3 shows the new patients' arrival pattern compared with the current arrival pattern. Similar patterns can be developed for the remaining scenarios too.
Analysis of Results
ARENA Rockwell Simulation software (v13) was used to develop the simulation model. There is no warm-­‐up period because the model simulates day-­‐to-­‐day scenarios. The patients of any day are supposed to be served in the same day. The model was run for 30 days (replications) and statistical data was collected to evaluate each scenario. Tables 4 and 5 show the detailed comparison of the system performance between the current scenario and Scenario 1. The results are quite interesting. The average throughput rate of the system has increased from 103 to 125 patients per day. The maximum throughput rate can reach 135 patients. Although the average waiting time has increased, the utilisation of the treatment station has increased by 15.6%. Similar analysis has been performed for the rest of the other scenarios. Due to the space limitation the detailed results are not given. However, Table 6 exhibits a summary of the results and comparison between the different scenarios. Scenario 1 was able to significantly increase the throughput of the system (by 21%) while it still results in an acceptable low average waiting time (13.4 minutes). In addition, it is worth noting that adding a nurse (Scenarios 3, 4, and 5) does not significantly reduce the average wait time or increase the system's throughput. The reason behind this is that when all the chairs are busy, the nurses have to wait until some patients finish the treatment. As a consequence, the other patients have to wait for the commencement of their treatment too. Therefore, hiring a nurse, without adding more chairs, will not reduce the waiting time or increase the throughput of the system. In this case, the only way to increase the throughput of the system is by adjusting the arrival pattern of patients over the nurses' schedule.
Developing a Scheduling Template based on Scenario 1
Scenario 1 provides the best performance. However a scheduling template is necessary for the care provider to book the patients. Therefore, a brief description is provided below on how scheduling the template is developed based on this scenario.
Table 3 gives the number of patients that arrive hourly, following Scenario 1. The distribution of each type of patient is shown in Table 7. This distribution is based on the percentage of each type of patient from the collected data. For example, in between 8:00-­‐9:00, 12 patients will come where 54.85% are of Type 1, 34.55% are of Type 2, 15.163% are of Type 3, 4.32% are of Type 4, 2.58% are of Type 5 and the rest are of Type 6. It is worth noting that, we assume that the patients of each type arrive as a group at the beginning of the hourly time slot. For example, all of the six patients of Type 1 from 8:00 to 9:00 time slot arrive at 8:00.
The numbers of patients from each type is distributed in such a way that it respects all the constraints described in Section 1.3. Most of the patients of the clinic are from type 1, 2 and 3 and they take less amount of treatment time compared with the patients of other types. Therefore, they are distributed all over the day. Patients of type 4, 5 and 6 take a longer treatment time. Hence, they are scheduled at the beginning of the day to avoid overtime. Because patients of type 4, 5 and 6 come at the beginning of the day, most of type 1 and 2 patients come at mid-­‐day (12:00 to 16:00). Another reason to make the treatment room more crowded in between 12:00 to 16:00 is because the clinic has the maximum number of nurses during this time period. Nurses become tired at the end of the clinic which is a reason not to schedule any patient after 19:00.
Based on the patient arrival schedule and nurse availability a scheduling template is built and shown in Figure 4. In order to build the template, if a nurse is available and there are patients waiting for service, a priority list of these patients will be developed. They are prioritised in a descending order based on their estimated slack time and secondarily based on the shortest service time. The secondary rule is used to break the tie if two patients have the same slack. The slack time is calculated using the following equation:
Slack time = Due time - (Arrival time + Treatment time)
Due time is the clinic closing time. To explain how the process works, assume at hour 8:00 (in between 8:00 to 8:15) two patients in station 1 (one 8-­‐hour and one 15-­‐ minute patient), two patients in station 2 (two 12-­‐hour patients), two patients in station 3 (one 2-­‐hour and one 15-­‐ minute patient) and one patient in station 4 (one 3-­‐hour patient) in total seven patients are scheduled. According to Figure 2, there are seven nurses who are available at 8:00 and it takes 15 minutes to set-­‐up a patient. Therefore, it is not possible to schedule more than seven patients in between 8:00 to 8:15 and the current scheduling is also serving seven patients by this time. The rest of the template can be justified similarly.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2011.837
PMCID: PMC3562880  PMID: 23386870
22.  A postal survey to identify and describe nurse led clinics in genitourinary medicine services across England 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2002;78(2):98-100.
Background: Nurses in genitourinary medicine (GUM) services are progressively extending their roles to conduct "comprehensive care" nurse led clinics. In such roles the nurse coordinates the first line, comprehensive care of patients presenting with sexual health conditions and issues.
Objectives: To identify and describe comprehensive care nurse led clinics in GUM services across England.
Methods: A postal questionnaire consisting of 17 closed response questions was sent to 209 GUM services across England. A second questionnaire was sent to non-responders to increase the response rate. Data were single entered and analysed using SPSS.
Results: Of the 190 GUM clinic respondents (91% response rate), 44 (23%) reported providing some form of comprehensive care nurse led clinic, 90% of which were initiated since 1995. Key results show staff development featured as the main reason for initiating such services and there was general consistency in the aspects of care undertaken by these nurses. There was evidence of guideline development specific to nurse led care and some patient group direction use for supplying medication. The level of support from medical staff while nurse led clinics were being conducted varied between services. Few services have conducted any audit or research to monitor/evaluate nurse led care. There was little consistency in the clinical experience and educational prerequisites to undertake comprehensive care nurse led clinics. Continuing professional development opportunities also varied between services.
Conclusions: The steady growth of comprehensive care nurse led clinics indicates that the skills of GUM nurses are being recognised. Nurses working in advanced practice roles now require courses and study days reflecting these changes in practice. Locally agreed practice guidelines can define nursing practice boundaries and ensure accountability, as will the development of patient group directions to supply medication. Monitoring and evaluation of nurse led clinics also require attention.
doi:10.1136/sti.78.2.98
PMCID: PMC1744443  PMID: 12081193
23.  Information and research needs of acute-care clinical nurses. 
The majority of nurses surveyed used the library on a regular but limited basis to obtain information needed in caring for or making decisions about their patients. A minority indicated that the libraries in their own institutions totally met their information needs. In fact, only 4% depended on the library to stay abreast of new information and developments in the field. Many of the nurses had their own journal subscriptions, which could account in part for the limited use of libraries and the popularity of the professional journal as the key information source. This finding correlates with the research of Binger and Huntsman, who found that 95% of staff development educators relied on professional journal literature to keep up with current information in the field, and only 45% regularly monitored indexing-and-abstracting services. The present study also revealed that nurses seek information from colleagues more than from any other source, supporting the findings of Corcoran-Perry and Graves. Further research is necessary to clarify why nurses use libraries on a limited basis. It appears, as Bunyan and Lutz contend, that a more aggressive approach to marketing the library to nurses is needed. Further research should include an assessment of how the library can meet the information needs of nurses for both research and patient care. Options to be considered include offering library orientation sessions for new staff nurses, providing current-awareness services by circulating photocopied table-of-contents pages, sending out reviews of new monographs, inviting nurses to submit search requests on a topic, scheduling seminars and workshops that teach CD-ROM and online search strategies, and providing information about electronic databases covering topics related to nursing. Information on databases may be particularly important in light of the present study's finding that databases available in CD-ROM format are consulted very little. Nursing education programs should be expanded to include curricula bibliographic sessions where the librarian, in cooperation with the teaching faculty, visits the classroom to explain all pertinent information sources or invites the class to the library for hands-on demonstration and practice. Nurses who gain working knowledge of the tools that open the doors to retrieval of research findings and who have information about new innovations in medicine and medical technology have superior chances for success in their chosen profession.
PMCID: PMC226136  PMID: 8938341
24.  Identification of ICF categories relevant for nursing in the situation of acute and early post-acute rehabilitation 
BMC Nursing  2008;7:3.
Background
The recovery of patients after an acute episode of illness or injury depends both on adequate medical treatment and on the early identification of needs for rehabilitation care. The process of early beginning rehabilitation requires efficient communication both between health professionals and the patient in order to effectively address all rehabilitation goals. The currently used nursing taxonomies, however, are not intended for interdisciplinary use and thus may not contribute to efficient rehabilitation management and an optimal patient outcome. The ICF might be the missing link in this communication process. The objective of this study was to identify the categories of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) categories relevant for nursing care in the situation of acute and early post-acute rehabilitation.
Methods
First, in a consensus process, "Leistungserfassung in der Pflege" (LEP) nursing interventions relevant for the situation of acute and early post-acute rehabilitation were selected. Second, in an integrated two-step linking process, two nursing experts derived goals of LEP nursing interventions from their practical knowledge and selected corresponding ICF categories most relevant for patients in acute and post-acute rehabilitation (ICF Core Sets).
Results
Eighty-seven percent of ICF Core Set categories could be linked to goals of at least one nursing intervention variable of LEP. The ICF categories most frequently linked with LEP nursing interventions were respiration functions, experience of self and time functions and focusing attention. Thirteen percent of ICF Core Set categories could not be linked with LEP nursing interventions. The LEP nursing interventions which were linked with the highest number of different ICF-categories of all were "therapeutic intervention", "patient-nurse communication/information giving" and "mobilising".
Conclusion
The ICF Core Sets for the acute hospital and early post-acute rehabilitation facilities are highly relevant for rehabilitation nursing. Linking nursing interventions with ICF Core Set categories is a feasible way to analyse nursing. Using the ICF Core Sets to describe goals of nursing interventions both facilitates inter-professional communication and respects patient's needs. The ICF may thus be a useful framework to set nursing intervention goals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-7-3
PMCID: PMC2276191  PMID: 18282288
25.  Registered Nurses´ View of Performing Pain Assessment among Persons with Dementia as Consultant Advisors 
The Open Nursing Journal  2012;6:62-70.
Background:
Pain assessment in persons with dementia is well known as a challenging issue to professional caregivers, because of these patients´ difficulties in verbalising pain problems. Within municipal dementia care in Sweden, pain assessment has become problematic for registered nurses, as they have entered a new role in their nursing profession, from being clinical practitioners to becoming consultant advisers to other health care staff.
Aim:
To present municipal registered nurses´ view of pain assessment in persons with dementia in relation to their nursing profession as consultant advisers.
Methods:
Purposive sampling was undertaken with 11 nurses invited to participate. Data were collected by focus groups. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data.
Findings:
Four categories were identified to describe registered nurses´ view of pain assessment: estrangement from practical nursing care, time consuming and unsafe pain documentation, unfulfilled needs of reflection possibilities, and collaboration and coordination.
Conclusions:
The performance of pain assessment through a consultant advising function is experienced as frustrating and as an uncomfortable nursing situation. The nurses feel resistance to providing nursing in this way. They view nursing as a clinical task demanding daily presence among patients to enable them to make accurate and safe assessments. However, due to the consultative model, setting aside enough time for the presence seems difficult to accomplish. It is necessary to promote the quality of systematic routines in pain assessment and reflection, as well as developing professional knowledge of how pain can be expressed by dementia patients, especially those with communication difficulties.
doi:10.2174/1874434601206010062
PMCID: PMC3362856  PMID: 22655002
Municipal dementia care; pain assessment; registered nurses.

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