Addressing Patient Acuity and Nurse Staffing Issues in the Acute Care Setting: A Review of the Literature

Tanya Sobaski


Background: Many times there is a misalignment on medical-surgical units nursing assignments that do not provide equitable distribution of the patient needs for the unit.

Purpose: The purpose of the literature review was to identify resources that address patient acuity and nurse staffing issues in the acute care setting.

Method: A literature review using the EBSCOhost health search engine, which included databases from Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Google Scholar, and ProQuest.

Results: The future of nursing is moving toward staffing based on patient acuity. Chiulli, Thompson, and Reguin-Hartman (2014) developed an acuity tool because it was discovered that there was no appropriate “assessment tool…for [the] medical-surgical patient population” (p. 10). However, nurses are not guaranteed adequate staffing based on acuity regardless of what is determined by use of the tool. Recommended is that further studies need to be conducted using the Chiulli et al. tool.

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International Journal of Studies in Nursing  ISSN 2424-9653 (Print)  ISSN 2529-7317 (Online)

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