1. Hall, Linda McGillis PhD, RN

Article Content

Theories of human capital evolving from the field of economics suggest that devoting resources to the education, career development, and orientation of individuals constitutes an investment that will produce future returns for an organization. The underlying principles of human capital are that individuals possess skills, experience, and knowledge that have an economic value to the organization.


One of the purposes of this study was to develop an understanding of the human capital costs associated with the production of nursing services. Specifically, the costs associated with the use of agency staff and the hours used for overtime, orientation, and ongoing education were examined in a sample of 133 adult, acute care, Canadian hospitals. It was evident that substantial increases in spending were experienced after restructuring in relation to agency nursing costs, overtime, orientation, and ongoing education-costs that have reached millions of dollars.


Data, when validated, demonstrate that the nurse executive data provided were not consistent and substantially underestimated the true financial expenditures in these settings. These study findings underscore the importance of nurse executives having access to accurate data on nursing costs to more effectively plan nursing human capital resources in the future.


Research supported by a grant from Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2001-2004.