FEATURE ARTICLEUsing Clinical Data to Capture Nurse Workload: Implications for Staffing and SafetyBAERNHOLDT, MARIANNE PhD, MPH, RN; COX, KATHLEEN PhD, RN; SCULLY, KEN MSAuthor Information Author Affiliations: School of Nursing (Drs Baernholdt and Cox) and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine (Dr Baernholdt and Mr Scully), University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Corresponding author: Marianne Baernholdt, PhD, MPH, RN, University of Virginia, School of Nursing, McLeod Hall, PO Box 800783, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0782 (firstname.lastname@example.org). CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: July-August 2010 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 229-234 doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e3181e1e57d Buy Metrics Abstract The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how a hospital clinical database can be utilized to calculate individual nursing unit activities that affect nurses' workload. While research has established that staffing is associated with patient safety, few studies have examined ways to measure nurse workload and its impact on patient safety. The widely used midnight census does not account for the number of patients who occupy a bed in a 24-hour period. In this study, a hospital clinical data repository was used to calculate workload measures such as total treated patients, midnight census, and admission, discharges, and transfers, as well as a unit activity index. Unit activity indexes for intensive care and medical-surgical units were compared over time, by shift, day of week, and month. Admission, discharges, and transfers varied according to unit type. During 1994 to 2006, unit activity index increased. Fluctuations in unit activity index were noted according to shift, day of week, and month. Hospital clinical data repositories can be used to calculate workload measures, and these measures should be incorporated with other traditional measures in making staffing decisions. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.