Cost-benefit study on professional college and UAS degree programmes in nursing from the host institution standpoint

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In their Master Plan "education in nursing professions", the Confederation, the Cantons and OdA Santé seek to assess all education and training levels in nursing and determine where improvements can be made and what measures should be taken to ensure an adequate number of qualified nurses in the future. One of the projects mentioned in this Master Plan is a cost-benefit study from the standpoint of host institutions. SFIVET’s cost-benefit study will focus on nursing professions for which degree programmes exist at Swiss tertiary-level B professional colleges and/or Swiss tertiary-level A universities of applied sciences (UAS).

The cost-benefit ratio for host institutions is a decisive factor in their willingness to provide training (see Schweri et al. 2003 or Mühlemann et al. 2007). The Master Plan ‘education in nursing professions’ will therefore include a cost-benefit study covering all levels of education and training in nursing. The purpose of this study is to create greater transparency and provide basic information which can be used to determine the funding the host companies. The main objective of the Master Plan is to ensure that the number of qualified nurses increases, thereby decreasing reliance on qualified nurses from outside of Switzerland.

In order to gather precise information from heterogeneous education and training structures and establish a study design, SFIVET first needed to conduct a preliminary study. Experts from all three nursing settings (i.e. acute care, long-term care and home care) in the Swiss German- and French-speaking regions were contacted to discuss professional college and UAS degree programmes in nursing. These discussions revealed that while a standardised questionnaire can certainly be sent directly to host institutions involved in the provision of long-term care and/or home care, the same does not hold true for host institutions involved in the provision of acute care. For this latter category, it is not possible to create a standardised questionnaire because the structure of education and training programmes and the size of host institutions vary considerably. A different approach is needed. Host institutions involved in the provision of acute care will therefore be contacted one by one to determine which version of the questionnaire should be sent to which person within each host institution.

The results of the study should provide an indication of how much host institutions spend to organise and provide the work-based portion of education and training programmes in nursing (e.g. cost of labour for students and trainers, administrative and organisational costs, costs for the provision of CET for employees, costs for the provision of workshops for trainees, etc.). At the same time, the study should also shed light on the productive output of students during their traineeship. After all, the work done by these students would otherwise still need to be done by qualified workers within the host institution.


Empirical-quantitative, own data gathered by means of an online questionnaire.

Report (in German)
Report (in French)

1.6.2010 to 31.10.2011
Project manager: 

Groupe de pilotage du Masterplan « Formation aux professions des soins »; Steuergruppe Masterplan Bildung Pflegeberufe