Monday, 8 June 2020

Nurse staffing levels and workload do matter

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

It seems self-evident that the fewer nurses we have relative to patients and the more that nurses have to to, the more patients must be at risk. And that is exactly what this study, recently published in JAN shows.

The study was conducted in Finland by Jansson et al. (2020) and they published an article titled: The proportion of understaffing and increased nursing workload are associated with multiple organ failure: A cross‐sectional study The study was conducted in one hospital over 10 years. A range of measures of nurse interventions and the nurse to patient ratios were recorded daily as was sequential organ failure. Over 10,000 patient incidents were studied.

Nurses intervention was higher in patients with multiple organ failure and in those who died. According to the authors: '(t)he proportion of understaffing was significantly more common in patients with multiple organ failure than in those without' and '(t)he levels of nursing associated with workload and understaffing were at their worst on weekends.'

The authors concluded: 'The proportion of understaffing and increased nursing workload are associated with multiple organ failure, demonstrating that an adequate level of nurse staffing in relation to patient complexity is a prerequisite for the availability and quality of critical care services.'  Finally, it is worth noting that '(t)he proportion of understaffing did not differ between survivors and non‐survivors.'

You can listen to this as a podcast


Jansson, M, Ohtonen, P, Syrjälä, H, Ala‐Kokko, T. The proportion of understaffing and increased nursing workload are associated with multiple organ failure: A cross‐sectional study. J Adv Nurs. 2020;

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Transforming Faculty Scholarship through Academic Blogging; An Autoethnographical Viewpoint

Catherine Best
Webmaster for the Phi Mu (All England) Chapter of Sigma

Writing for publication is fundamental in the effort to extend nursing knowledge and is a solid platform upon which nurses, can effectively disseminate professional knowledge and personal experience to a wider audience (Montoya, 2020). 

Expanding the body of knowledge through publication is therefore considered an essential element within nursing practice; one which enables the sharing of nursing knowledge; new initiatives and research findings and directly contributes to the advancement and development of the profession (Oermann and Hays, 2018).
Traditionally, academia has emphasised the importance of peer-review, above any other form of communication (Stoneham and Kite, 2017); disappointingly this method can create a significant barrier to the accessing of information (Oliver et al. 2014), for much of the data is available simply to the few in ‘subscription only journals’. Furthermore, the peer review process continues to limit publishing success, for not only can it be lengthy as demonstrated by Happell, (2012), it can also stifle performance and encourage self-doubt, especially if feedback is particularly critical (Wilcox, 2019). Many papers are simply rejected outright, a process that from personal experience can be intensely painful. It is important to note however, that the publishing world is filled with authors who have received rejections. It didn’t stop them from publishing, they just simply found another way. Indeed, this very blog has been developed from my abstract submitted to the Nightingale Conference 2020, which sadly has been cancelled, due to the pandemic. There is always, I have found, another way to publish and through blogging nurse academics can build a portfolio of publications, without undergoing the often-damaging process of peer review.

Originally termed ‘Weblogs’, and now more commonly known as blogs, are according to Anders, (2018) used extensively to engage students more fully with education, providing opportunities and challenges to increase autonomy and encourage a responsible attitude towards their own learning.

Blogging in academic circles, commonly known as academic blogging, has emerged as a channel through which faculty staff can disseminate research findings and encourage scholarly debate (Cameron et al. 2016) without going through the rigors connected with academic journals (McGlynn, 2017). Every blog published is a contribution to a wider discussion, its strength being in its ability to connect people to information that really matters (Moss, 2018).

There are many benefits of academic blogging (Northam, 2012) and from personal experience I have found that these have emerged throughout my writing practice.

Blogging helps to quieten my very busy mind. It has provided space to experiment with myriad of ideas, finetune my writing skills and build my confidence. Ultimately supporting the development of an invaluable writing habit (Thomson, 2016).

Used appropriately I believe that academic blogging can become a catalyst for change as it can encourage deeper levels of learning and ultimately self-reflection, which in turn can facilitate action and help advance nursing practice.

Disappointingly however, reticence continues to exist, with many refusing to accept blogging as a valid form of scholarship, citing a lack of peer review, ‘wasted time’ and ideas made too freely available (Fullick, 2011). Although this appears to be changing rapidly, as increasingly academics are entering the so-called Blogosphere to publish their work (ibid) and build their professional profile (Campbell, n.d.)

Personal Insight
I have found blogging to be a great way to develop my professional interests, creating a framework through which, I can structure my learning and engage with my personality. Having such a diverse repertoire of ideas, enables creativity in my writing. It has supported the development of a writing portfolio of which I am extremely proud and, in a way, has become addictive, feeding my habit and my passion for quality and collaborative learning. My academic blogs feature prominently in my aspirations and help create ideas for peer reviewed journal articles as well as conference abstracts and presentations. It enables critical reflection and action and ultimately helps to showcase my love for my profession as a nurse and academic.

Personal Benefits
My blogs have helped to build the confidence to engage with social media and have been used as a catalyst for personally led Twitter Chats. Having considered for some time that social media can be a viable CPD event which promotes reflective practice, these thoughts have now been corroborated by Moorley and Chinn (2019), in their work on Revalidation (NMC, 2019). Blogs, like articles, can be read, enjoyed and then critiqued, the resulting CPD hours [for me] being both an enjoyable and positive experience.

Perhaps as importantly blogging has helped me to build new working and professional relationships, engage with journal editors and supported the commissioning of my work.

I know that there are those who are concerned about writing something that may be libelous and I have to profess I too had those doubts. To reduce this risk however, I chose to engage with publishers and highly respected organisations who were keen to publish my work; this approach giving me the confidence to continue.

An abundance of support continues to come from a variety of different publishing avenues and I am grateful to all those who have given me and continue to give me opportunities to publish and promote my work.

So, why not consider writing a blog. If it’s not for you then fine; but how do you know, unless you write one?


Anders, A.D. (2018) Networked learning with professionals boosts students' self-efficacy for social networking and professional development. Computers & Education, 127, 13–29.

Cameron CB, Nair V, Varma M, Adams M, Jhaveri KD, Sparks MA (2016) Does Academic Blogging Enhance Promotion and Tenure? A Survey of US and Canadian Medicine and Pediatric Department Chairs JMIR Med Educ, 2(1):e10.

Campbell, L.M. (n.d.) What is academic blogging and how can you use it to build your professional profile? [Online blog] Available from: [Accessed 20 May 2020]

Fullick, M. (2011) Should you enter the academic blogosphere? A discussion on whether scholars should take the time to write a blog about their work. 30 November. [Online blog] Available from: [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Happell, B. (2012) Writing and publishing clinical articles: a practical guide. Emergency Nurse, 20 (1) April, pp.33-37.

McGlynn, T. (2017) Why blogging is still good for your career. 23 October [Online blog]. Available from: [Accessed 27 May 2020].

Montoya, V. Schafer, K and Decker, V. Nurses Need to Publish Scholarly Articles: Overcoming Reticence to Sharing Valuable Experience. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 47 (2) March-April, pp. 153-162.

Moorley, C. and Chinn, T. (2019) Social media participatory CPD for nursing revalidation, professional development and beyond. British Journal of Nursing, 28 (13) July, pp. 870-877.

Moss, G. (2018) Why blogging is great for your career. 11 October [Online Blog]. Available from:[Accessed 26 May 2020].

Northam, J. (2012) The benefits of academic blogging – should you enter the blogosphere?! 11 January [Online blog] Available from: [Accessed 18 May 2020].

Nursing and Midwifery Council (2019) Revalidation. London: NMC.

Oermann, M.H. and Hays, J.C. (2018) Writing for Publication in Nursing. 4th ed. New York: Springer Publishing.

Oliver K, Innvar S, Lorenc T, Woodman J, Thomas J. (2014) A systematic review of barriers to and facilitators of the use of evidence by policymakers. BMC Health Services Research, 14 (2) January, pp. 1-12.

Stoneham, M.J. and Kite, J. (2017) Changing the knowledge translation landscape through blogging. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41 (4) February, pp. 333-334.

Thomson, P. (2016) Seven reasons why blogging can make you a better academic writer. 2 January [Online blog] Available from: [Accessed 27 May 2020).

Wilcox, C. (2019) Rude paper reviews are pervasive and sometimes harmful, study finds. 12 December [Online blog]. Available from: [Accessed 27 May 2020]

Editorial note: entries to JAN interactive are not reviewed and are published at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief and may be subject to editing or removal by Wiley. We welcome replies, rejoinders, comments and debate on all entries provided they are not offensive or personal.