The methodological quality of nurse-sensitive indicators in Dutch hospitals: A descriptive exploratory research study

R. A. M. M. Kieft*, D. Stalpers, A. P. M. Jansen, A. L. Francke, D. M. J. Delnoij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review



Nurse-sensitive indicators (NSIs) are increasingly being developed and used to establish quality of nursing care in Western countries. The objective was to gain insights into the methodological quality of mandatory NSIs in Dutch hospitals, including indicators for pain, wound care, malnutrition and delirium.


A descriptive exploratory design was used, starting with desk research into publicly available documents and reports describing the development of the NSIs included in this study. We used the validated Appraisal of Indicators through Research and Evaluation (AIRE) instrument to evaluate the methodological quality.


Although the purpose and relevance of each individual NSI have been described, no detailed information about the criteria for selecting these topics is available. It is not clear which specific stakeholders participated and how their input was used. We found no information about the process of collecting and compiling scientific evidence. It is unclear whether and to what extent the usability of NSIs has been tested.


The methodological quality of NSIs used in Dutch hospitals is less than optimal in various ways and it is therefore questionable if the indicators are accurate enough to identify changes or improve nursing practice. Our study also provides an example of how the methodological quality of NSIs can be assessed systematically, which is relevant considering the increasing use of NSIs in various countries. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-764
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Nurse-sensitive indicators
  • Hospital care
  • Methodological quality


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