A comparison of two patient classification instruments in an acute care hospital

The Journal of Nursing Administration
Jean Ann Seago


Patient classification systems are alternately praised and vilified by staff nurses, nurse managers, and nurse executives. Most nurses agree that substantial resources are used to create or find, implement, manage, and maintain the systems, and that the predictive ability of the instruments is intermittent. The purpose of this study is to compare the predictive validity of two types of patient classification instruments commonly used in acute care hospitals in California. Acute care hospitals in California are required by both the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and California Title 22 to have a reliable and valid patient classification system (PCS). The two general types of systems commonly used are the summative task type PCS and the critical incident or criterion type PCS. There is little to assist nurse executives in deciding which type of PCS to choose. There is modest research demonstrating the validity and reliability of different PCSs but no published data comparing the predictive validity of the different types of systems. The unit of analysis is one patient shift called the study shift. The study shift is defined as the first day shift after the patient has been in the hospital for a full...Continue Reading


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