An evaluation of nurse to patient ratios and nurse scheduling policies Conference Paper uri icon


  • Legislators at the state and national level are addressing renewed concerns over quality of care in the nursing profession. At the same time, the well-known nursing shortage is worsening. To address these issues, we examine nursing workforce management decisions and how recent healthcare legislation impacts these decisions. We present an integrative approach that considers two phases of the workforce management process: planning and scheduling. Our model evaluates policies regarding mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios, controls the amount of work given to each nurse, and develops low labor cost, desirable work schedules. Our integrative planning and scheduling model simultaneously determines the number of nurses to schedule each shift such that the probability of violating the mandatory nurse-to-patient ratio is below a specified level, and assigns each nurse to a set of shifts over a planning horizon. By combining the planning and scheduling phases, we are able to compare different nurse-to-patient ratio policies by measuring the impact on schedule cost and schedule desirability.

name of conference

  • Proceedings - Annual Meeting of the Decision Sciences Institute

published proceedings

  • Proceedings - Annual Meeting of the Decision Sciences Institute

author list (cited authors)

  • Daniel Wright, P., Bretthauer, K. M., & Ct, M. J.

complete list of authors

  • Daniel Wright, P||Bretthauer, KM||Côté, MJ

publication date

  • December 2003