Introducing critical care assistants can reduce nurse workload, say UK researchers.
They piloted the introduction of nine assistants for six months in critical care units at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
They said some improvements were noted, especially in high-dependency care. 'The introduction of the role eased some of the workload pressures on qualified staff and allowed nurses to focus on the more dependent patients,' the authors said.
'However, difficulties were experienced with the appropriate allocation of tasks and general communication with nursing staff,' they added.
The authors said that, while the overall findings were mixed, they were sufficiently positive to support future development of the role.
Nursing in Critical Care (2007) 12: 242-249