Nursing Staffing Model


There in no presumption whatsoever that the nursing fraternity, nor any individual hospital nursing management, do not know how to calculate the optimal nursing staffing levels requirements for departments within any specific hospital. This section has been included purely as a counter balance for hospital management, who often are not clinicians, when reviewing the hospital budget. Nursing is the backbone for any hospital's successful delivery of appropriate patient care and also tends to make up the lion's share of the expenditure for running and operating a hospital.
The process that the nursing staffing levels model uses has been tried and tested. When first presented to nursing management there was a high level of scepticism and a sense that their positions were being undermined. At the nursing management meeting, which was held to demonstrate and test the model, there were three of the most senior nurses, including the nurse who was responsible for planning and scheduling nursing staffing rosters per department. They were asked to pick a random ward and state the minimum basic details - type of ward, number of beds and the average occupancy. These three bits of data were entered into the model which immediately provided a result - undisclosed at first. Then the three senior nurses were asked to compute and state how many nurses were required for the ward they had selected. This took them about 10 minutes or so. They announced their computed figure and the model result was also immediately disclosed. There was a difference of only 1 nurse.


The model would need to be rechecked and verified for the UK nursing environment as it was developed and is based on the South African nursing environment. Assuming that there are no unforeseen complications in this regard there are just a few simple steps that are needed. These are briefly outlined below :

Step 1  Nursing Inputs (Provided by Nursing Management)

 - Categories of nurses : Senior Professional, Professional, Assistant Staff, Auxillary and Student

 - Working hours : taking into account annual leave, study leave, sick leave and other

 - Matching nursing acuity needs by type of ward, theatre, outpatients or other section

Step 2  Department Inputs (Wards, Theatres, Outpatients and Other)

 - Types of wards and number of beds,

 - Theatres and number of major/minor operations

 - Outpatients and average volumes

 - Other to be specified as needed

Step 3  Hospital Administration

 - Basic salaries and additional costs/benefits by nursing category

 - Occupancies by department and/or volumes using annual average

 - Budgeted overall financial expenditure for nursing and by departments

Step 4  Capture All Relevant Data into Model

 - Verify data to ensure all captured correctly

 - Review outcome with hospital and nursing management