J Korean Crit Care Nurs.  2021 Jun;14(2):1-11. 10.34250/jkccn.2021.14.2.1.

The Nurse Staffing in Intensive Care Units based on Nursing Care Needs: A Multicenter Study

  • 1Nursing Director, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center
  • 2Doctoral student, College of Nursing, Seoul National University
  • 3Head Nurse, Seoul National University Hospital
  • 4Professor, College of Nursing & Research Institute of Nursing Science, Seoul National University
  • 5Nursing Director, Seoul National University Hospital
  • 6Director of Performance Improvement Team, Asan Medical Center


: The aim of this study was to propose appropriate nurse staffing of adult intensive care units considering patients’ nursing care needs according to the Workload Management System for Critical Care Nurses (WMSCN).
: In a cross-sectional survey conducted in September 2017, 1,786 patients’ WMSCN scores, surveys from 2,145 nurses, and administrative data from 118 units in 41 hospitals were analyzed. The means (standard deviations) of the aforementioned scores and nursing hours per patient day were presented. Nurse-to-patient ratios and nurse-to bed ratios for staffing to meet patients’ nursing care needs were calculated.
: The mean WMSCN scores were 109.50±17.17 in tertiary hospitals and 96.38±19.26 in general hospitals. Nursing hours per patient day were 12.47±2.80 in tertiary hospitals and 11.01±2.45 in general hospitals. Nursing hours per patient day correlated with WMSCN scores. Nurse-to-bed ratios required for the provision of ICU nursing care ranged from 1: 0.36 to 1: 0.48.
: Our findings provide evidence that current ICU nurse staffing is insufficient for meeting patients’ nursing care needs. We suggest adjusting the legal standards for adequate nurse staffing considering these needs.


Nurse, Staffing, Needs, Intensive care units; 간호사, 인력 배치, 간호요구도, 중환자실
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