The South Carolina Nurse Recruitment and Retention Resource Center
was established be the State Legislature in 1989 to address the apparent
shortage of registered nurses in the state. The oversight board was
composed of high-level health care professionals from both the educational
and operational health care sectors. In July of 1989, IMS Quantum
(then Integrated Management Systems, Inc.) was engaged to develop an
Integrated Planning Model that would yield a number of measures of
performance for the activities of the Center.
Because of the inherently long-term impact of the Center's work,
short-term measures that could be used for annual assessment, budgeting,
and planning were difficult for management to develop. While measures
could be conceived, there appeared to be considerable problems
associated with quantifying them. The Integrated Planning Model
captured each phase of the Center's work, as well as the mechanisms
associated with the supply of and demand for nurses in the state.
As a consequence of its structure, quantification, and tight logic,
the model yielded not only the measures sought, but also a variety
of other measures not previously considered.
During presentation of the model to the Board of Directors,
exercises were done with the board that created some of the inputs
to the model. In the process, all the participants could see clearly
the context out of which the questions arose and could enter into
focused dialogue to achieve some form of consensus concerning the
magnitude of the inputs. This aspect of Integrated Planning Models
is a powerful benefit when groups are trying to chart a course in
Another byproduct of the model was found in the section that
described the demand for nurses. The model explicitly described
the patient-to-nurse ratios in different hospital settings. If
the minimum acceptable ratios were increased, the nursing shortage
disappeared. The model became a valuable tool in addressing
arguments concerning the nature of the shortage and could be useful
in designing strategies for alleviating the shortage without
sacrificing health care quality.
The model also described the specific results expected from
the various activities of the Center. As a budgeting and planning
tool, the model could be used by Center management to allocate
resources to those activities that yielded the greatest results.
IMS Quantum specializes in developing comprehensive Integrated
Planning Models for the purpose of improved allocation of resources,
enhanced managerial control with better measures of performance,
and more focused dialogue concerning the assumptions upon which is
based the direction of the enterprise.