Nursing News

New Nurse Staffing Guide Aims to Help with Decision-making

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May 30, 2013 - The American Nurses Association's (ANA’s) latest guide in its You! Series, Nurse Staffing 101: A Decision-making Guide for the RN, is designed to help nurses develop effective and facility-specific approaches to optimal staffing decisions and plans that enhance the delivery of safe, quality care. It is also designed as a tool for identifying and developing the processes and policies needed to improve nurse staffing at every practice level and in any practice setting.

Author Lauri Lineweaver PhD, RN, CCRN-CSC, director of practice, innovation and research at Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico notes, “Nurse staffing is one of the most controversial topics in healthcare today. In order to have productive and effective discussions, nurses must understand the complexity of staffing decisions and how to influence these decisions.”

This practical guide gives readers real-world guidance on essential topics of nurse staffing outlined in ANA’s Principles of Nursing Staffing, including:

  • How to calculate hours per patient day (HPPD), staffing productivity, and wages;
  • Historical and political setting of safe staffing;
  • Workplace, safety, and quality considerations;
  • Examples of professional nursing practice models;
  • Staffing at the organizational level in terms of workload variances; and
  • Current practices and possible solutions for determining and achieving the requisite staffing levels and measureable quality outcomes

The guide also contains a complete checklist based on the Principles for Nurse Staffing to help nurses develop an effective approach to staffing decisions. 

“At facilities which are short staffed, nurses often have to work long hours and night shifts. These conditions contribute to job-related burnout, job dissatisfaction, and increased risk for patient safety. Providing the appropriate levels of nurse staffing is critical to achieving safe, quality outcomes,” said Sandra A. Gilbert, PhD, RN, MSN, retired charge nurse and current nurse educator teaching master’s level course work. “Nurses need practical resources like this to help guide decision-making.”

This 36-page book, priced at $12.95 list or $9.95 for ANA members, is part of the ANA You Series: Skills for Success.

About the author:

Lauri Lineweaver, PhD(c), RN, CCRN-CSC, director of practice, innovation, and research at Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, holds national certification in critical care and cardiac surgery. Currently a doctoral candidate and Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy fellow, she is pursuing a PhD in nursing at the University of New Mexico Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative; her research focus is on predictive staffing models, nursing workforce, and organizational analysis.

Source: ANA,