Staffing and Workforce Development

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Inappropriate staffing is one of the most dangerous threats to patient safety and to the well-being of nurses. AACN has long supported that appropriate staffing provides an effective match between the needs of the patient and family and the knowledge, skills and abilities of the nurse. In fact, the likelihood of serious complications or death increases when there is an inappropriate number of registered nurses caring for patients. 

Staffing is a complex process with the goal of matching the needs of patients throughout their injury or illness with the competencies of nurses. Because the condition of critically ill patients rapidly and continuously fluctuates, flexibility of nurse staffing that goes beyond fixed nurse-to-patient ratios is imperative.  Relying on staffing ratios alone ignores patient needs and acuity, and the status of the work environment.

Evidence suggests that better patient outcomes result when a higher proportion of care hours is provided by registered nurses in healthy work environments. AACN’s cutting-edge work on creating healthy work environments that offer resources and tools for how these environments can be created and implemented include “AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments” and the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care™, as well as playing a key role in the Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education (LACE) work group to implement the APRN Consensus Model.