Benchmark – Staffing Matrix and Reflection

NUR-621 Benchmark – Staffing Matrix and Reflection

Staffing is the procedure of getting a good employee with the right capability or skills and enlisting them to fill the vacancy or role. Therefore, nurse staffing is the plan that effectively indicates how many and what kind of staff are needed per shift or day in a unit or a department (Aiken et al., 2018). On the other hand, a staffing matrix is an apparatus that aids leadership evaluates what positions of each staff set are required based on the census. The matrix is used as a guideline, and acclimatization can be congruent with the patient’s acuity. While safe and adequate staffing is critical, a staffing matrix in nursing aids nurse leaders in determining what level of each set is needed based on the census. This paper seeks to show the importance of the staffing matrix in a healthcare setting.

Importance of Using a Staffing Matrix in Health Care Setting

Healthcare facilities need adequate and safe staffing levels to operate well and give secure and competent care. Enough staffing levels

Benchmark - Staffing Matrix and Reflection
Benchmark – Staffing Matrix and Reflection

guarantee better patient care, reduce nurse fatigue, prevent burnout, and increase patient satisfaction (Riley et al., 2021). Applying a staffing matrix in the nursing setting is critical as it helps the nurse leader determine what levels of each staff group are needed based on the census. It helps in the safe clinical placement of staff, which is essential to the clinical nursing field and the holistic health care structure. Placement nursing staff influences all nurses’ capacity; it dictates secure and standard management in nursing environments.

Benchmark  Staffing Matrix and Reflection
Benchmark  Staffing Matrix and Reflection

The staffing matrix thus eliminates unsafe nurse staffing practices and policies and provides better health care for all since it ensures adequate staffing that results in patient satisfaction (Riley et al., 2021). Similarly, the staffing matrix ensures the higher performance of the employees as work is assigned according to their capabilities. At the same time, organizational objectives are achieved most efficiently and effectively. Patients in inadequate facilities are confronted with accelerated chances of death, the danger of transmission of diseases, and raised stakes of after-surgical problems.

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Description of the Applied Staffing Matrix

NUR-621 Topic 8: Staffing Matrix
Census 30 29 28 27 26 25 24
Direct Caregivers Scheduled Hours Shift Length Number of Staff
Day Shift
RN 21 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
NA 14 12 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
Health Unit Coordinator 14 12 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Night Shift
RN 21 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
NA 14 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
Health Unit Coordinator 14 12 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

The staffing matrix above determines the number of full-time equivalents (FTE) mixed employees. The surgical unit’s RNs, NAs, and health unit coordinators are based on the unit of service and the staffing needs’ drivers. The hours per patient day are relative to the census in one week. To be noted in the unit census is the gradual fluctuations which are critical in the determination of the number of FTEs needed per day. However, for understanding, we explain first the unit of service or work measurement.

The Unit of Service or Work Measurement

The unit work is the process that dictates the estimation of responsibility in each unit. The unit service in the above staffing matrix is based on both day and night shifts. The considered service in the surgical team ranges from the provision of care to persons of mature age who are hospitalized with a vast difference of conditions, which could include conditions such as pneumonia, stroke, and fractures. Similarly, the caregivers’ activities include preparing patients for surgical procedures and providing post-surgical care required until discharge. Moreover, other nursing interventions include sending out patients, planning and education, and psychological help. In addition, taking note of the various unit activities, the FTEs is also influenced by the dynamic nature and schedules of the day shift, i.e., higher admission number, as opposed to the night shift. Hence, dictating the higher projection of the FTEs and less NA, FTEs during the night shift. Similarly, the unit census has been considered in the determination of the FTEs average number and applied as thus:

The Determination of the FTEs Unit Need

Taking the median of the census, 27, of the numbers set and applying the nurse to patient ratio of 1: 3, we have 9, the median FTEs number for the unit.  We considered and factored the work measurement load, thus adding 1 FTE for each day to manage the patient acuity, hence the number 10 for the FTEs equally applying for both day and night for the RNs but doubling the NAS for adequate patient management. In addition, the productive hours relative to the twelve-hour shift design: 168hours/twelve productive hours = 14, 12-hour and 8-hour design: 168 hours/8 productive hours = 21, 8-hour.

Financial Management Principle

The financial management principle applied to understanding the risks and putting the money to work. The first principle assumes that a surgery unit is risky (Jones et al., 2018). It thus needs adequate staffing and budget attention, hence the need to expend sufficient money by employing enough staff to manage the unit to avoid mortality and falls.

Adjustment of Staffing Based on Changes in the Patient Census.

The given staff matrix above shows that the unit census keeps steadily fluctuating from 30, 29, 28,27,26,25, and 24 in the week. The fluctuation calls for staffing adjustment. The adjustment only applies to the night shift because the activities are assumed to decline compared to those during the day. For the RNs, it is constant in both cases but reduces NAs from 20 to 15 during the night. In addition, the number of health unit coordinators remained steady at 2.

The Makeup of the Budget Variance

A budgeting process allows the nurse leader or manager to comprehend how and where finances can be expended to add value to the systems operations—establishing a good capital budgeting system in healthcare permits more valuable investments and fewer room mistakes and wastages (Zaichkin, 2018). As such, if there is a variance in FTEs exceeding the budget, it is only wise to have been anticipated during the budgeting and thus projected in the budget as an auxiliary for emergencies.  In our staffing matrix above, the ratio of nurse to patient is 1: 4, but the unit can still work better with the ratio1: 3; for any emergencies, the difference between the ratios will handle the situation.

In extreme situations, the reallocation of resources can bridge the budget variance by requesting more funds for the unit or reallocating the inactive resources allotment in the unit’s section that demands more resources in line with the staffing and budgeting operations and management guidelines.Conclusion

A staffing matrix is a system that aids nurse leaders dictate what stages of each staff set are required based on the census. The matrix is applied as a criterion, and adjustments can be made in tandem to consider the patient’s needs and acuity. Similarly, the staffing matrix ensures work excellence on the employees as work is assigned according to their capabilities.


Aiken, L. H., Cerón, C., Simonetti, M., Lake, E. T., Galiano, A., Garbarini, A., … & Smith, H. L. (2018). Hospital nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Revista Médica Clínica Las Condes, 29(3), 322-327.

Jones, C., Finkler, S. A., Kovner, C. T., & Mose, J. (2018). Financial Management for Nurse Managers and Executives-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Riley, Y., Stitt, J., Hill, C. M., Stutzman, S. E., Venkatachalam, A. M., Aguilera, V., & Ifejika, N. L. (2021). Implementation of the MATRIX Staffing Grid Improves Nurse Satisfaction with Rehabilitation Unit Staffing. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 53(4), 183-187. 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000593.

Zaichkin, D. L. (2018). Budget Principles for Nurse Leaders. Essential Knowledge for CNL and APRN Nurse Leaders, 217.