Website spotlight: Planning nurse staffing with a patient acuity system

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 6, 2010

How many patients one nurse can care for is a difficult question to answer with certainty. Some days more. Some days less. Any nurse will tell you it all comes down to the individual patient and how much care they need.

This is why acuity-based staffing models are so popular. A shift's staffing needs are based on the patients' level of care complexity. Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago implemented a software program—Res-Q from Concerro—to track and predict nurse staffing needs based on acuity. The program allows nurses to assign relative weight to patients that indicate how much care those patients need. For example, whether they require ventilation or have a central line.

Saint Joseph's is part of the Resurrection Health Care system, which assembled committees across the system to develop standards and assign weights to different patient types.

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