Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Developing and Sustaining Safe, Effective Staffing and Workload Practices

Type of Guideline: 
Healthy Work Environments
Publication date: 
About this Guideline:

Learn how the decision making process must ensure that appropriate structures and supports are in place to maximize the nursing effort resulting in the best possible care and positive outcomes for the patients/clients, nursing personnel, and the organization.

The guideline was developed to identify and describe:

  • Staffing and workload practices that foster healthy work environments resulting in better outcomes for nurses.
  • System resources that support healthy staffing and workload practices.
  • Organizational cultures, values and resources that support effective staffing and workload practices.
  • Outcomes of effective staffing and workload practices.

This guideline is not intended to replace existing workload measurement systems , prescribe staffing levels or provide a formula to determine the “correct” number and combination of nursing personnel. Rather, its purpose is to assist nurses, nursing leaders and senior management teams to enhance positive outcomes for patients/clients, nurses and the organization by:

  • Identifying best practices that effectively address environmental complexities that contribute to nursing workload.
  • Making recommendations regarding organizational structures and processes needed by organizations necessary to implement and achieve manageable workloads for nurses.
  • Recommending staffing models to achieve positive outcomes.
  • Providing an assessment framework of evidenced-based factors to assist organizations in making appropriate staffing decisions.

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