Education Corner

Acuity-Based Staffing & ICM

April 12, 2022

In 2017, RNU began advocating for an acuity-based staffing model, which is a model where staffing is based on the actual acuity of patients, clients and residents in care verses limited factors such as the number of beds on a unit. We pushed hard for a system that used real-time data to show when the acuity of patients has increased and to signal that help is needed. The model we lobbied for was known as the New Zealand model.

RNU’s advocacy efforts paid off when government eventually agreed that acuity-based staffing was needed.

In 2020, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced a new workforce management system would be introduced across the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) – and that acuity-based staffing would be a component of this system.

This system is called Integrated Capacity Management (ICM). Work began on ICM last year.

The goal of ICM is to help build a healthy and sustainable healthcare system, which will result in positive patient outcomes and a more satisfied and healthier workforce. The project will focus on patient flow, staffing and improving quality care.

The ICM project is a partnership between the RHAs, the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) and Health Stream.

ICM is not the same as the New Zealand model. We still have questions about ICM and how its processes will reflect acuity-based staffing and change how you work. However, we know without a doubt that our current system is desperately outdated, resulting in chronic understaffing, excessive overtime and health care worker burnout.

RNU is monitoring the rollout of ICM, gathering information, and asking questions. We are working to ensure the nursing perspective is incorporated as the ICM is rolled out, and advocating for frontline members to be engaged as the acuity-staffing component is developed. We remain hopeful ICM will lead to improved staffing based on the real-time needs of patients.

The Health Sciences Centre and Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre have been identified as ICM pilot sites. Training sessions for employees at these sites will be ongoing throughout 2022.

For more information on ICM, please review this FAQ and watch for updates from your employer. In the coming months, RNU will host a virtual education session with the ICM team and provide an opportunity for members to ask questions and provide feedback.