Purpose: To describe the concept of Nurse Dose.
Methods: The concept of nurse dose has been identified from decades of clinical research as a concept essential in the delivery of safe and high quality health care. The components of nurse dose were conceptualized through review of the literature from nursing, medicine, and health services research.
Findings: Nurse dose is conceptualized as having three equally essential components: dose, nurse, and host and host response. Dose in the macro view includes the number of nurses per patient or per population in cities, states, regions, or countries. Dose in a micro view includes the amount of nurse time and the number of contacts. The nurse component consists of the education, expertise, and experience of the nurse. Host is represented by an organization and its characteristics (culture, autonomy, practice control) in a macro view and by the patient and characteristics (beliefs, values, culture) in a micro view. Host response includes response to the autonomy and acceptability of the nurse.
Conclusions: Greater nurse dose has been associated with decreases in patient mortality, morbidity, and healthcare costs.