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Interagency Collaborative on Nursing Statistics

D. Health Care Delivery System Terminology

  1. Acuity.  The measurement of the intensity of nursing care required for a patient.  An acuity-based staffing system regulates the number of nurses on a shift according to the patients’ needs and not according to raw patient numbers.  (Source:  American Association of Critical-Care Nurses)

  2. Average Daily Census.  Average number of people served on an inpatient basis on a single day during the reporting period. Calculated by dividing the total number of inpatient days by the number of days in the reporting period. (American Hospital Association)

  3. ​Nursing Hours Per Patient Day.  Nursing care hours per patient day refers to the number of nursing care hours relative to the patient workload.

  4. Inpatient Day of Care.  Length of time between the census-taking hours on two successive calendar days for patients receiving care in an inpatient health care facility.

  5. ​Inpatient Days. The number of adult and pediatric days of care, excluding newborn days of care, rendered during the entire reporting period. (American Hospital Association)

  6. Length of Stay. The number of inpatient days the patient stays at the health care facility.

  7. Nursing Sensitive Indicators (Nursing Performance Measures).  Nursing sensitive indicators reflect the structure, process and outcomes of nursing care. The structure of nursing care is indicated by the supply of nursing staff, the skill level of the nursing staff, and the education/certification of nursing staff. Process indicators measure aspects of nursing care such as assessment, intervention, and RN job satisfaction. Patient outcomes that are determined to be nursing sensitive are those that improve if there is a greater quantity or quality of nursing care (e.g., pressure ulcers, falls, and intravenous infiltrations). Some patient outcomes are more highly related to other aspects of institutional care, such as medical decisions and institutional policies (e.g., frequency of primary C-sections, cardiac failure) and are not considered "nursing-sensitive". (Source: NDNQI)

Nurses, Nursing Education, and Nursing Workforce: Definitions *