Identifying key performance indicators for nursing and midwifery care using a consensus approach

Tanya McCance, Lorna Telford, Julie Wilson, Olive Macleod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. The aim of this study was to gain consensus on key performance indicators that are appropriate and relevant for nursing and midwifery practice in the current policy context.Background. There is continuing demand to demonstrate effectiveness and efficiency in health and social care and to communicate this at boardroom level. Whilst there is substantial literature on the use of clinical indicators and nursing metrics, there is less evidence relating to indicators that reflect the patient experience.Design. A consensus approach was used to identify relevant key performance indicators.Methods. A nominal group technique was used comprising two stages: a workshop involving all grades of nursing and midwifery staff in two HSC trusts in Northern Ireland (n = 50); followed by a regional Consensus Conference (n = 80). During the workshop, potential key performance indicators were identified. This was used as the basis for the Consensus Conference, which involved two rounds of consensus. Analysis was based on aggregated scores that were then ranked.Results. Stage one identified 38 potential indicators and stage two prioritised the eight top-ranked indicators as a core set for nursing and midwifery. The relevance and appropriateness of these indicators were confirmed with nurses and midwives working in a range of settings and from the perspective of service users.Conclusions. The eight indicators identified do not conform to the majority of other nursing metrics generally reported in the literature. Furthermore, they are strategically aligned to work on the patient experience and are reflective of the fundamentals of nursing and midwifery practice, with the focus on person-centred care. Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses and midwives have a significant contribution to make in determining the extent to which these indicators are achieved in practice. Furthermore, measurement of such indicators provides an opportunity to evidence of the unique impact of nursing/midwifery care on the patient experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1154
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7&8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012


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