The effect of workforce issues on patient safety

Lillee S. Gelinas, David Yik Hin Loh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


At the 6th Annual National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) Congress held in Boston in May 2004, hospital leaders were presented with evidence that demonstrated the direct linkage between workforce issues and patient safety. Despite the compelling evidence that employee turnover affects patient care and financial performance, many health care organizations have not focused sufficiently on relevant workforce issues such as staff retention, ongoing competency development, and adequate orientation and training. To build a strong workforce and a culture of consistently high-quality care, health care organizations need to focus on and devote resources to strengthen leadership at all levels, develop a healthy culture, assure optimal work design, implement benchmark human resource processes, and grow the next generation of workers. The cultural best practices from VHA Inc., hospitals which have resulted in improved performance and formal Employer of ChoiceSM recognition are identified and described, including attributes such as leadership development, performance management, and open book management practices. There does not appear to be a lack of knowledge linking workforce and quality. The performance gap exists because of the lack in execution. Taking what we know, and making it what we do, is the hard part.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004


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