Application of workload indicators of staffing needs (WISN) in determining health workers' requirements for Mityana general hospital, Uganda
Mugisha, John Francis
Katongole, Simon Peter
Bikaitwoha, Maniple Evard
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With reducing number of health workers amidst increasing disease burden, ever increasing population and limited resources, health systems are faced with challenges of providing adequate and quality health care globally. The application of provider-population ratio or fixed staff establishments have overtime, not matched the changing human resource needs of health care organizations. This study aimed to estimate human resource requirements of Mityana hospital basing on workload as an alternative to the existing approaches. Methodology: We employed descriptive cross-sectional design and the Workload Indicator of Staffing Needs (WISN) methodology. We utilized focus group discussion, observation and document review to obtain information from key informants; generated annual service statistics from the hospital’s records. The quantitative data were analyzed using the WISN software and spread sheet. Results: All the cadres studied had the same hours of work in a year (1,664), except nursing assistants whose annual available working time was1,696 hours. All the cadres were experiencing additional workload due to use of their time for activities other than their primary duties. Medical officers used more than 50% of their time for such (non-primary) activities compared to the laboratory staff (15%). As a result, the calculated WISN staff requirements were very high compared to the existing staff levels. Mityana hospital had 44% of the posts filled for the studied cadres. The nurses and midwives had the highest calculated requirements (72 and 45 respectively) and the highest staff positions filled (57% and 84% respectively) making them experience the lowest work pressure (49% each). The highest work pressure was experienced by medical officers and medical clinical officers (82% each). Conclusion: The study reveals shortages in health workforce in Mityana hospital. Non-primary activities contributed to work pressure in different units of the hospital, resulting into long hours of shifts which could have compromised quality of health care. This method (WISN) estimates staffing requirements based on actual service provision. Stakeholders facing human resource challenges and scarcity can employ it in prioritizing health cadres for recruitment and deployment based on existing work pressure.