Resources for

Staffing in Acute & Critical Care

Staffing: New Approaches Are Crucial

Inappropriate nurse staffing is a persistent and significant barrier to delivering optimal patient care and one of the most dangerous threats to patient safety and nurse well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this challenge to the point of crisis.

It will take a collaborative effort to change the staffing paradigm in our country to one that values nurse staffing as an investment in patient safety and better outcomes rather than an expense.

We know that appropriate staffing ensures an effective match between the needs of the patient and family, and the knowledge, skills and abilities of the nurse. It sounds simple, and yet it is not. It is time to stop bandaging our current staffing model—new approaches are crucial.

Advocacy in Action: Leading the Way for Appropriate Staffing

In partnership with the American Nurses Association, American Organization for Nursing Leadership, Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, AACN is leading an initiative to identify strategies that address the crisis in acute and critical care staffing.

AACN convened the Partners for Nurse Staffing, which launched a Nurse Staffing Think Tank and Nurse Staffing Task Force. Together we are developing new staffing solutions that advance patient outcomes while ensuring a better work environment for nurses and all members of the healthcare team.

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Nurse Staffing Solutions From Our Community

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Adding LPNs/LVNs to ICU Team
As a solution to address staffing challenges, learn how one organization successfully integrated LPNs/LVNs into the ICU team by providing a tailored orientation and building working relationships with RNs.
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Dual-Role Staffing Solution
Read how one hospital’s ICU collaborated with other departments to develop a dual-role employee initiative that improved nurses’ job satisfaction and enhanced the quality of patient care.
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Integrating Travel Nurses on the Unit
Travel nurses have become a common resource in health systems during the pandemic. Read how one hospital successfully integrated the travelers with the rest of the team, and learn their key takeaways.

Share Your Innovative Staffing Solutions

Nurses are innovative and flexible when faced with a challenge. While AACN is exploring large-scale and collaborative staffing transformations, we know you are innovating at the unit level to find new ways to approach nurse staffing.

Please share the new and different approaches you have taken that resulted in improvements to staffing. Your experience can inspire others, and even small steps move us all closer to our goal of appropriate staffing for all healthcare institutions. Together, we can shine a light on creative solutions that are happening now.

Key Nurse Staffing Resources

AACN, a longtime champion for appropriate staffing, offers many resources. These featured resources can help you navigate staffing challenges, seek solutions and make your optimal contribution to support a healthy work environment and care for patients and their families.

Nurse Staffing Think Tank: Priority Topics and Recommendations

Review a set of priorities and recommendations, developed by the Nurse Staffing Think Tank, that provide immediate strategies that can be feasibly implemented in the short term (12-18 months) to help address the nurse staffing crisis.

The Art and Science of Delegation: Staffing During COVID-19

Excessive demands for critical care during the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of new staffing models generates the need for effective delegation between team members. In this webinar, the presenters describe how to redeploy non-ICU staff and offer strategies that ICU nurses can employ to use delegation and create a more manageable workload.

Strategies to Support Nurse Staffing

Consider how you can help your colleagues and nurse leaders implement six strategies to promote effective nurse staffing, including participating in staffing decisions and delegating tasks.

Team Nursing and COVID-19 Surge Staffing

Short staffing is a pervasive and increasing crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. New models are needed to mitigate this crisis and support acute and critical care nurses. Review this blog and its accompanying video to learn more about actions nurses can take to make team nursing effective.

AACN Guiding Principles for Appropriate Staffing

These principles, developed with input from our community, represent the next bold step in creating staffing solutions. They serve as the foundation for our ongoing staffing work.

Additional Resources

We offer journal articles, webinars, books and other materials to help with staffing challenges. Explore AACN’s many resources to support your journey to appropriate staffing and healthy work environments.

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