A study to estimate the number of nursing staff required for neonatal nursing was undertaken. Certain nursing tasks, such as transporting any infant, caring for the dying infant, and looking after the very unstable infant required continuous attention by one nurse (5.5 whole time equivalent (wte) nurses for each cot). The stable ventilated infant required 10.5 nursing hours each day-that is, 2.4 wte/cot. Infants with intravenous infusions, but not ventilated, required only slightly less nursing time: 9.25 nursing hours each day or 2.12 wte/cot. Each special care patient needed 6.50 nursing hours each day, or 1.49 wte/cot. It is emphasised that each neonatal unit will have to take its own practices into account when calculating neonatal nursing requirements.
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