Nurse Staffing

From hospital admission to discharge; care coordination to ongoing patient education, nurses facilitate the entire health care journey. The appropriate staffing level reduces mortality rates, the length of patient stay and a number of preventable events such as falls and infections. While patient safety benefits, so too do nurses. With an improved workload comes the chance for nurses to utilize their full expertise, without the pressure of fatigue.

DNA supports the development and implementation of valid, reliable, unit-by-unit nurse staffing plans that are based upon the ANA Principles for Nurse Staffing.

These plans should be created in coordination with direct care registered nurses and based on each unit's unique circumstances and changing needs. Staffing plans should also consider staffing levels recommended by specialty nursing organizations and ensure that nurses are not forced to work in units where they are not trained or experienced.

Staff Level Factors

  • Patient complexity, acuity, or stability
  • Number of admissions, discharges, and transfers
  • Professional nursing and other staff skill level
    and expertise
  • Physical space and layout of the nursing unit
  • Availability of technical support and other resources

Related Resources

ANA Principles for Safe Staffing (pdf)

Website Staffing and Acuity Systems (pdf)

Safe Staffing Literature Review (pdf)

Core Components of Nurse Staffing White Paper

ANA collaborated with Avalere to explore using optimal nurse staffing models to achieve improvements in patient outcomes. Highlighted key findings show how optimal staffing is essential to providing quality patient care. Also explored are staffing models to expand thinking beyond nurse-to-patient ratios.

Download the free white paper.


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