A general estimate for the staffing needs of an intensive care unit (ICU) can be made based on dividing the total needs for the unit by total availability for a provider.


Parameters for ICU needs:

(1) number of beds in the ICU

(2) occupancy rate (usually around 85%)

(3) number of days staffed per week (typically 7)

(4) number of shifts per day (typically 3)

(5) adjustment to staffing needs to compensate for vacation, illness, etc (1.25 to reflect 25% extra)


Parameters for provider availability:

(6) number of patients for each type of provider (physician, nurse, allied health, support)

(7) number of shifts worked per week by the provider (usually 5 for most employees)


total number of a given type of staff or professional per week =

= (number of beds) * (occupancy rate) * (days staffed per week) * (shifts per day) * (adjustment to staffing needs) / ((number of patients per provider) * (number of shifts for the provider per week))


This is only a rough calculation and would apply to full-time equivalents (FTEs).


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.