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The association between the mental health nurse-to-registered nurse ratio and patient outcomes in psychiatric inpatient wards: a systematic review

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Nursing skill mix in inpatient mental health wards varies considerably between countries. Some countries have an all-registered mental health nurse workforce; others have a mix of registered mental health and registered nurses. Understanding the optimal nursing skill mix in mental health inpatient units would inform service planning. This report aims to examine the association between the registered mental health nurse-to-registered nurse ratio and psychiatric readmission (or referral to community crisis services) in adult mental health inpatients. A systematic review was performed. We searched key databases for observational and experimental studies. Two researchers completed title-and-abstract and full-text screening. Our search identified 7956 citations. A full-text review of four papers was undertaken. No studies met our inclusion criteria. We report an empty review. Despite the obvious importance of the research question for the safe staffing of inpatient mental health services, there are no studies that have tested this association.


This study was part of a doctoral studentship from La Trobe University.



  • School of Nursing and Midwifery

Publication Date



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health





Article Number



12p. (p. 1-12)





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