Health Assistant in Nursing: a Victorian health service pilot
Objective: Develop and evaluate pilot of a new role to support nursing care delivery in hospital settings.
Design: A naturalistic, three-stage pre-post, multimethod pilot design used data collected from hospital administrative datasets, and surveys and focus groups with staff participants.
Setting: Three wards at three hospital sites of a large tertiary health service in Victoria, Australia.
Subjects: Staff performing the new role and registered nurses working on participating wards.
Intervention: Pilot of a new Health Assistant in Nursing (HAN) role.
Main outcome measures: Staff outcomes were work satisfaction and workload of registered nurses; quality outcomes included reported patient falls and medication errors; organisational outcomes included service costs and sick leave.
Results: Work satisfaction and workload of registered nurses remained stable after introducing the new role. The frequency of reported patient falls reduced in two of the three wards. Costing outcomes suggested potential for cost benefits attributed to reduced falls in acute wards.
Conclusions: This pilot identified the new HAN role has capacity to contribute to improved patient quality and safety outcomes without compromising nurse job satisfaction and workload. Potential cost benefits of the
new role warrant further consideration in the acute care sector.
Abbreviations: CPO – Constant Patient Observer; CSN – Clinical Support Nurse; HAN – Health Assistant in Nursing. NWSQ – Nursing Workplace Satisfaction