menu ☰
menu ˟

Developing and testing a matrix to achieve ready-everyday nursing standards (RENS): an observational study protocol

24 Aug 2019


The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) set criteria for the delivery of healthcare services in Australia. While a voluntary process, continual accreditation with ACHS is an expectation of, and for, Australian healthcare providers. Juxtapositioned with the ACHS, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) set the mandatory practice requirements of, and for, Australian nurses. Despite these overarching quality and governance directives, a regional Queensland Hospital and Health Service (HHS) demonstrated deficits in the quality of nursing care. Accordingly, a HHS project was commissioned with the aim of producing a quantum shift in the quality of nursing services such that the service was ready-everyday for accreditation assessment, and nursing practice exemplified the NMBA standards.

Several barriers to achieving the aim were identified and it was considered that the implementation of critical system changes would structurally and operationally support the achievement of the aim. The system changes are pivoted around an interactive matrix that links nursing care services to the array of nursing professional and practice standards and provides real-time quantitative output measures. This paper outlines the protocol that will be used to establish, implement and evaluate the matrix.

Methods and analysis

A participatory action research design with a modified Delphi methodology will be used for the development the matrix. The organisational change management around the matrix implementation will be informed by Kotter’s model and supported by the use of the McKinsey 7S. The matrix implementation phase will be conducted using a modified Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services model. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected over a 12 month pre-test/post-test design to measure the statistical significance of the matrix in supporting compliance with nursing standards and the achievement of quality nursing care. Quantitative data from quality of care assessments will be analysed using descriptive and comparative statistics. Qualitative data from staff surveys will be analysed by content analysis of the major themes (n~200).

Ethics and dissemination

The project has ethics approval from a Queensland Health Human Research Ethics Committee. Results will be reported to participants and other stakeholders at seminars and conferences and through peer-reviewed publications.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open