At the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) National Teaching Institute in May 2017, AACN President Clareen Wiencek, with help from President-Elect Christine Schulman, facilitated a session in which participants shared their concerns about staffing in their units. Two work environment staffing topics became the focus of the session: (1) nursing shortages and difficulty recruiting in certain areas of the country, and (2) methods that organizations use to determine staffing numbers.

What is driving this staffing shortage? What did members express about their organizations’ staffing? Do they have enough nurses to care for patients in their units when patient census and patient acuity increase? Many nurses at the session stated that they had experienced a staffing issue at least once in the last working week at their jobs. Others shared that their organizations have the right staffing numbers based on staffing grids,...

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