ANA Principles Help Guide Safe and Sufficient Nurse Staffing

The American Nurses Association’s (ANA’s) Principles for Nurse Staffing is designed to address safe and sufficient nurse staffing across diverse healthcare settings and specialty areas, establishing criteria for evaluating the comprehensiveness of healthcare systems. The ANA development panel recognized that patient care needs are so complex and variable that relying on minimum staffing standards often does not reflect the reality of safe patient care. 

The principles were developed as a framework for evaluating the adequacy of nurse staffing and estimation of needs for a care setting, and fall into three major categories:

  • Patient care unit (patient-specific and unit-specific factors)
  • Nursing staff (experience and expertise)
  • Organization (policies and practices)

ANA has also developed the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® to enable healthcare institutions to collect data on nursing-sensitive indicators and compare their results to national data. Find out more about the subscription service. Nurses may also refer to the Joint Commission’s staffing effectiveness standards for various practice settings.