Staffing is one of the largest expenditures for healthcare organizations. It stands to reason that for some organizations a mandatory staffing ratio could negatively impact their financial bottom line. Sometimes ratios can be different within an organization based on acuity of patients or type of unit. Explore your own organization staffing ratio policy. What is/are the ratio(s) and how they are determined? What variables affect the ratios? Have they been mandated by state legislation or organizational policy? How is your operational budget (unit or department) affected by the staffing ratio assigned to it?
Our organization has a set staffing ratio policy, and they are set based on national standards within the larger organization and agreed upon with our union representative. We do not currently have state mandated staffing ratios. They are based on acuity and some ways that non-nursing staff determines acuity is how often a chart is opened and how many boxes are checked in documentation. For example, if a patient is really sick and requires a significant amount of time, attention, and care, clinical staff should be in the chart a considerable amount of the time and documenting multiple assessments, possibly titrating medications, care, etc. If the patient is relatively stable, a nurse may do one full system assessment a shift, depending on the patients location, and open the chart less frequently to document as the patient may not require a lot of nursing care or medications.
In our critical care units, the ratio is 2:1, 3:1 maximum. On stepdown units the ratio is 4:1, telemetry is 5:1, and medical are 6:1. Different variables that may affect staffing include floating nurses outside of their pod, patient acuity, critical staffing, and support staff availability. I know some facilities may operate similarly and some may be different as they are….Kindly click the purchase icon to purchase the full solution at $5