Publications Take a Closer Look at Inpatient Nurse Staffing Needs

To date, most of the data related to staffing in the inpatient setting have been general, with few addressing oncology unit needs. 

Nursing Management: Principles and Practice (Gullatte, 2011) includes two chapters that may be helpful when looking at inpatient nurse staffing.

  • "Patient Acuity and Classification Systems" (Eversole, Barton, & Wood, 2011) provides information on the options and benefits of these types of systems. The chapter addresses:
    • Types of classification systems
    • Potential uses and benefits
    • Implications for nursing practice
    • Considerations when choosing a system
    • Examples of patient acuity software.
  • "Flexible Budgets and Staffing Guidelines" (Edens & Gullate, 2011) addresses staffing metrics, flexible budgeting, and methods to determine realistic staffing to allow optimal patient outcomes and efficiency. Two aspects of staffing that need to be addressed are (1) core staffing, which looks at average unit workload (census/volume) trends, available staff skill sets, and core staffing plans, and (2) adjusted daily staffing, which varies based on current workload. Examples of resources to determine each of these aspects are provided.

Additionally, Cohen (2010) provides a start-to-finish discussion of what goes into determining and managing staffing needs in her article “How Many Nurses Does Your Hospital Need?”

Subscription-based resources are also available to help with inpatient staffing planning, such as The Advisory Board Company's Nursing Executive Center, which offers toolkits for staffing.


Cohen, J.D. (2010, June).  How many nurses does your hospital need? Nursing Management, 41(6), 20–25.

Edens, P.S., & Gullatte, M.M. (2011). Flexible budgets and staffing guidelines. In M.M. Gullatte (Ed.), Nursing management: Principles and practice (2nd ed., pp. 157–178). Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society.

Eversole, D.R., Barton, N.S., & Wood, H.M. (2011). Patient acuity and classification systems. In M.M. Gullatte (Ed.), Nursing management: Principles and practice (2nd ed., pp. 143–156). Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society.

Gullatte, M.M. (Ed.). (2011). Nursing management: Principles and practice (2nd ed.). Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society.