Tools for measuring nursing workload in mental health inpatient wards
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Tools for measuring nursing workload in mental health inpatient wards

Adrian Jones Clinical academic lead, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Mental Health and Learning Disability Division, Heddfan AMHU, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, Wales
Les Rudd Formerly mental health service improvement lead, Public Health Wales

Mental health wards should be staffed adequately to be able to provide patients with safe, high-quality care. This is particularly important in a time of increasing acuity and reduction in the number of inpatient places available for patients. It can be helpful to use workload tools to plan staffing levels effectively for mental health inpatient wards. This article provides a review of the different types of workload tools available and the evidence about their use in mental health settings. The authors outline some areas that need further development, including the nature of professional judgement and how it can be used in practice, the concepts of missed care and nurse-sensitive indicators, and issues about how to prepare staff to use workload tools.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2018.e1356


Jones A, Rudd L (2018) Tools for measuring nursing workload in mental health inpatient wards. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2018.e1356

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double‑blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 01 November 2018

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now