Productivity doesn't have a meaning by itself. It is just a term used to describe a ratio of input
utput. For instance, how many cupcakes can you eat in a day? That would be your daily cupcake productivity.
In hospitals, they are usually focusing on "hours per patient day (HPPD)"... in other words, how many hours of nursing work are allotted for each patient on the unit. And it is the nurse manager's responsibility to ensure that the hours worked do not exceed the allowed HPPD. The problems with HPPD are huge. It does not usually take into account the "ins and outs" (admissions, transfers & discharges) that eat up enormous amounts of time. It assumes that everyone is equal & everyone on staff can contribute equally to the work (RN, LPN, CNA, etc.) And most importantly, it does not take into account the differences in acuity. But that is the way that nursing labor budgets are defined. Essentially, nursing staffing is being defined by the CFO - they have nothing to do with what the patient actually needs.
IF - we turned things upside down and used patient outcomes (including satisfaction) as a productivity measure, wouldn't that be fun? We may discover that it takes twice as much nursing time to produce a highly satisfied patient instead of a 'so-so' satisfied one. Would the powers-that-be change out labor budgets? It would be fun to find out. What if we defined productivity in terms of quality? How many extra hours would it take to reduce that length of stay? Speed up healing?
Food for thought