Emergency Department Staffing Survey Reveals Challenges in 3 Key Areas

Current staffing strategies used in many Emergency Departments (EDs) across the US do not adequately address the needs of ED nurses in providing timely and safe patient care. The survey revealed compelling themes around the highest perceived challenges around nurse staffing, current approaches/solution, and areas of opportunity for the future. Challenges that frequently impact ED nurse staffing include increasing numbers of behavioral health & admitted patients boarding in the ED as well as daily fluctuations in volume and acuity. Often, EDs are challenged to supplement their staff in real time to address these issues. Many EDs, however, do not currently employ or have resources in place to implement alternative staffing strategies caused by volume and acuity fluctuations. Common solutions leveraged to address inadequate staffing include using contract staff and flexing (adding staff or shift cancellation). Increasingly, utilizing actual data with predictive analytics technology has the potential to significantly improve staffing fluctuations associated with ED volume and acuity.