Journal of Professional Nursing

Hospital Restructuring: Identifying the Impact on Patients and Nurses  

Mary P. Finlayson, PhD, RCpN, Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, Massey University, Albany
Suzanne E. Gower, PhD, RGON, Lecturer, Department of Public Health and General Practice, Christchurch School of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Otago

Reference:  Finlayson, M. P., & Gower, S. E. (2002). Hospital restructuring: Identifying the impact on patients and nurses. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 18(1), 27-35.


Health systems throughout the democratic world have been subject to ‘reform’ in recent years as countries have attempted to contain the rapidly rising costs of health care. Because hospital care accounts for a large proportion of health sector spending, hospital restructuring has been an important part of those changes. In an attempt to make hospitals more efficient and cost-effective, New Zealand, like other countries, has introduced extensive changes to the way in which treatment and care are delivered to patients, and to the way nurses’ work is organised and managed. International research has identified links between the way in which nursing is organised in a hospital, and that hospital’s patient outcomes. The current authors are part of a team of researchers undertaking research which uses the methodology of the International Hospital Outcomes Study to examine nurse staffing and patient outcomes in New Zealand’s secondary and tertiary hospitals across the period 1988-2001. The research involves a large survey of all nurses working in the study hospitals, an examination of the way in which the hospitals have been restructured, and an analysis of patient outcomes.   

Hospital restructuring, nurse outcomes, patient outcomes, organisation  


Since the mid 1980s New Zealand’s health care system, in common with those of other western countries, has been subject to continual restructuring and redesign in attempts to contain the rapidly rising costs of health care. As a part of those changes hospitals, which account for a large proportion of health care spending, have been subject to major restructuring resulting in extensive changes to the ways in which treatment and care are delivered to patients, and how work in hospitals is organised and managed.

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