Supernumerary status:definition, operationalisation and its effect in practice

Brian McGowan, Brendan McCormack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents an evaluation of the implementation of supernumerary status in intensive care units in the Greater Belfast area. The evaluation focused on three questions,what did staff understand by the term supernumerary status. How was supernumerary status implemented in the Trusts? What effect did supernumerary status have on the staff/Trusts involved? The results of the evaluation are presented here and issues for further development identified.The study was qualitative in nature and used semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews to collect data. Participants were purposively selected by virtue of their experience of supernumerary status. Interviews and focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. These transcripts were then analysed line-by-line and coded. Data analysis described 10 common themes.In general, the concept of supernumerary status was well received and was supported by all involved who believed that its goal of producing adequately trained and skilled practitioners in an intensive care environment was a worthwhile exercise that benefited both staff and patients.Overall, exploring the operationalisation of a supernumerary status programme helps us to explore the challenges of supporting neophyte nurses in all areas of practice and challenges service providers to consider creative approaches to providing such support. However, whilst making a positive contribution to the recruitment and development of nurses new to the intensive care environment, further study is required to gauge the long-term effect of this programme on retention of staff.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-317
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


  • Supernumerary status
  • Support
  • Recruitment


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