The nursing department of every healthcare organization plays an important role for the success of a hospital, because they cover 50 percent or more of the hospital’s labor budget. Therefore, it is important that the manager of the nursing department pays attention to the productivity of the job of every nurse and make sure that their work is running efficiently. A way to analyze the productivity of the nursing department is by internal benchmarking within the same organization or competitive benchmarking with an external organization.

The information that will be used to compare the services will be the nursing care hours provided per patient (HPPD). This data should be accurate and clear to help the productivity of the department. The benchmarking data obtained after the analysis can help the nursing department to continue with their excellent job or to improve their performance. Most healthcare organizations use internal benchmarking, because they work within the same organization. It is a quick process because they have the ability to work with the same partners that share a similar system.

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Another reason of why the organization chooses this method is that there will not be issues of confidentiality and ethics between the comparison departments. This will help have an easy access to data of the other departments that will be used to perform the comparison and improve the productivity of the nurses. On the other hand, competitive benchmarking is more challenging, since this activity is being done directly with competitors in the same industry, this can hinder collaboration and not receive the necessary information to continue with the process of benchmarking.

Although its difficulties, competitive benchmarking has its benefits that will allow the partners of both facilities to share their best practices and make the environment friendly. Worth mentioning that this method is recommended for large organizations because they have enough space and supplies to support quality for continues improvement. The benchmarking method that the hospital is going to use in this case will be internal benchmarking, because the hospital has several nursing units with similar types of patients that will provide data to improve productivity.

The data received after the benchmarking will indicate if the hospital has the appropriate number of nurses to provide patient care, this doesn’t promise quality care for patients. The data that will be comparing with the other department is the hours provided per patient daily (HPPD). To measure HPPD of the nurses, it is necessary to add the total number of nurses in a 24-hour period that were only engaged in patient care, and then multiply the results by the shift hours to calculate the total labor hours of the workers.

The second step is for the part-time direct care workers, as before, add the part-time direct care total numbers in a 24-hour period and multiply by the hours worked. Add the total numbers obtained on step 1 and step 2 then divide by the number of patients present in the facility during work hours. The results given in step three provides the nursing hours per patient day, this help the nursing department know what ratio of nurses to patients is best for the department.

After the data calculated of the HPPD, the two nursing unit from the hospital will compare the information, and will know which department is doing better and which one should pay attention to their productivity. For example, if one nursing unit’s hours worked per patient day is higher than the other department; this means that the department with higher HPPD indicates lower productivity. To identify the problem of the higher HPPD, the unit needs to find the total number of excess hours worked, for example overtime.

Overtime can be the cause of high HPPD and this need to be controlled by the manager, the nurses sometimes have to stay longer to cover a coworker’s space or in other cases, patients are admitted to the hospital by the end of the nurse’s shift, causing the increase of HPPD. Calculating and comparing with other departments the hours provided per patient (HPPD) of every nurse in the unit will provide a better understanding of the productivity of the nursing unit.

Having excessive nursing staff can affect the budget of the hospital, so it is very important to know the appropriate number of nurses require per patient care. Avoiding overtime in the staff can improve the productivity and there will be a lot of savings for the hospital. Benchmarking productivity is an activity that every unit in the hospital should perform like nursing units or any other units to pay attention to the staff and their performance. Reference Kay, J. MD. (2007). Staton, M. How to Calculate Nursing Hours. Retrieved March 8th, 2012, from http://www. ehow. com/how_7492807_calculate-nursing-hours. html.