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Open Access Case study

Development of an interactive model for planning the care workforce for Alberta: case study

Judy Bloom1, Stephen Duckett2* and Andrea Robertson3

Author Affiliations

1 Workforce Planning, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, Canada

2 President and Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Health Services currently Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta and La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

3 Health Professions and Chief Nursing Officer, Alberta Health Services, currently Chief Executive Officer STARS (Alberta Shock Transfer and Retrieval Service), Calgary, Canada

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Human Resources for Health 2012, 10:22  doi:10.1186/1478-4491-10-22

Published: 20 August 2012

Abstract

Introduction

In common with other jurisdictions, Alberta faces challenges in ensuring a balance in health worker supply and demand. As the provider organization with province-wide responsibility, Alberta Health Services needed to develop a forecasting tool to inform its position on key workforce parameters, in the first instance focused on modeling the situation for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and health care aides. This case study describes the development of the model, highlighting the choices involved in model development.

Case description

A workforce planning model was developed to test the effect of different assumptions (for instance about vacancy rates or retirement) and different policy choices (for example about the size of intakes into universities and colleges, different composition of the workforce). This case study describes the choices involved in designing the model. The workforce planning model was used as part of a consultation process and to develop six scenarios (based on different policy choices).

Discussion and evaluation

The model outputs highlighted the problems with continuation of current workforce strategies and the impact of key policy choices on workforce parameters.

Conclusions

Models which allow for transparency of the underlying assumptions, and the ability to assess the sensitivity of assumptions and the impact of policy choices are required for effective workforce planning.