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Questions to Ask About Safe Staffing Before Accepting Employment

  1. Who is the chief nursing officer, to whom does she or he report, and does she or he have -authority over staffing?
  2. Who controls the staffing budget?
  3. Is the level of staffing an active and ongoing discussion in the organization, and do staff nurses have input?
  4. Does the organization have a shared governance model?
  5. When, where, and how is staffing input obtained from staff nurses?
  6. How do ratios in the organization compare with recommendations of national and regional -organizations, such as the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the Association of Critical Care Nurses?
  7. What is the content and length of orientation for new nurses?
  8. What is the philosophy regarding staff mix designations?
  9. What is the frequency of floating to other nursing units?
  10. What are the criteria used by the organization in determining competency of cross-trained staff?
  11. What resources does the organization use to supplement staff during peak census?
  12. If concerns arise about the adequacy of staffing, where and to whom is it appropriate to voice those concerns?
  13. How are overtime, on-call time, and cancellation of regularly scheduled shifts handled?
  14. Does the organization mandate overtime? If so can the staff nurse refuse to participate without repercussions?
  15. What is the turnover rate, and what is the average longevity of staff nurses?
  16. What opportunities for advancement exist in the organization, such as clinical ladders or other systems of recognition?
  17. Where does the organization expect discussions about staffing or practice issues to take place?
  18. Is there a conflict resolution process in place?

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