Appropriate Staffing

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Appropriate staffing is clearly linked to the health of your work environment. It affects everything in your unit, including nurse performance and retention, quality of care, patient outcomes and hospital costs. It’s time for a new staffing model that meets the needs of patients, families and the nurses who care for them. These HWE critical elements and evidence-based resources can help you on your journey to appropriate staffing, better patient outcomes and a healthy work environment.

Standard Definition

Staffing must ensure the effective match between patient needs and nurse competencies.

Critical Elements

For Organizations

  1. The health care organization has staffing policies in place that are solidly grounded in ethical principles and support the professional obligation of nurses to provide high-quality care.
  2. The health care organization has formal processes in place to evaluate the effect of staffing decisions on patient and system outcomes. This evaluation includes an analysis when patient needs and nurse competencies are mismatched and how often contingency plans are implemented.
  3. The health care organization has a system in place that facilitates team members’ use of staffing and outcomes data to develop more effective staffing models.
  4. The health care organization provides support services at every level of activity to ensure nurses can optimally focus on the priorities and requirements of patient and family care.
  5. The health care organization adopts technologies that increase the effectiveness of nursing care delivery. Nurses are engaged in the selection, adaptation, and evaluation of these technologies.

For Individuals

  1. Nurses participate in all organizational phases of the staffing process from education and planning—including matching nurses’ competencies with patients’ assessed needs—through evaluation.
  2. Nurses seek opportunities to obtain knowledge and skills required to demonstrate competence to ensure an effective match with the needs of patients and their families.

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