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Nurse/midwife-to-patient ratios: a scoping review.

Tait, Darcy; Davis, Deborah; Roche, Michael A.; Paterson, Catherine


Darcy Tait

Deborah Davis

Michael A. Roche

Catherine Paterson


A significant body of work has linked high nurse or midwife workload to negative patient outcomes. Anecdotal reports suggest that mandated ratio models enhance patient care and improve nurse job satisfaction. However, there is limited focused research. To identify key outcomes, implementation processes, and research needs regarding nurse/midwife-to-patient ratios in the Australian healthcare context. Data sources were CINAHL, Open Dissertations, Medline, and Scopus. 289 articles screened, and 53 full text documents independently assessed against criteria by two reviewers and conflicts resolved by a third reviewer, using Covidence™. Three studies were included in this review. Studies focused on nurse (job satisfaction, burnout), patient (mortality, readmission, length of stay) and system (costs) outcomes with limited information on implementation processes and no midwifery research. Ratios provide benefits for patients, nurses, and hospitals although there is limited research in Australia. Implementation was poorly reported.


TAIT, D., DAVIS, D., ROCHE, M.A. and PATERSON, C. 2024. Nurse/midwife-to-patient ratios: a scoping review. Contemporary nurse [online], Latest Articles. Available from:

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2024
Online Publication Date Feb 26, 2024
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 8, 2024
Journal Contemporary nurse
Print ISSN 1037-6178
Electronic ISSN 1839-3535
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Nursing; Midwifery; Implementation; Ratios; Workload
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