Definition of Staffing Terms: To build a body of knowledge regarding the development of a staffing budget and later be able to create actual staffing plans, the registered nurse must first be familiar with the following terms and their definitions.
Nursing Hours Per Patient Day (NHPPD): A unit of measure that defines the average number of hours of nursing care delivered to each patient in a 24-hour period.
Hours Per Workload Unit (HPWU): A unit of measure that defines the average number of hours worked per workload unit. The workload unit can be number of visits, number of meals served, number of square feet cleaned, number of operating room minutes, and others, depending on the department worked.
There is a direct relationship between the workload and the amount of resources (RNs, LVNs, Aides, Dietary Aides, OR staff, etc.) needed.
Patient Day (PD): One patient occupying one bed for one day. Typically, counted at midnight. For example, a patient admitted to a nursing care unit at 11:50 p.m. will be counted in the midnight census for that unit; therefore will be counted as one patient day.
Average Daily Census: Patient days in a given time period (daily, weekly, monthly, or annual) divided by the number of days in the time period. It is also used to define the average number of total inpatients on any given day.
Variable Hours of Care: A component of NHPPD that measures the amount, in time, of care directly provided to the patient by a caregiver, e.g. RN, LVN, aide. It does not take into account fixed hours of care. Variable hours of care are also referred to as caregiver hours.
Fixed Hours of Care: A component of NHPPD that reflects the indirect care provided by nursing staff, e.g. unit secretary, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist. This unit of measure is a constant, meaning that it is not dependent upon the acuity of the patient, or the volume of patients when calculating the staffing pattern.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE): The equivalent of one full-time employee working for one year. It is calculated based upon 40 hours per week for 52 weeks, or 2080 hours. It includes both productive and nonproductive time. One employee, working full-time for one year (2080 hours) is one FTE. Two employees, each working 20 hours per week for one year (1040 hours each), are the equivalent of one FTE.
Replacement FTE: The number of FTEs required to replace non-worked hours.
Worked Hours: The actual number of hours worked, including both regular and overtime hours, orientation hours, on-call hours, callback hours, and training/education hours. Also known as productive hours.
Non-Worked Hours: The hours for which an employee is paid, but are not worked. Examples include vacation, sick, jury duty, holidays, funeral leave, paid time off, etc. The Fair Labor Standards Act dictates what an institution must include as non-worked hours. Also known as nonproductive hours.
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