ICU Staffing, Models, and Outcomes

  • Karen Chen
  • Joseph L. NatesEmail author
Reference work entry


As one of the most expensive resources in the healthcare system, the intensive care units (ICUs) are closely monitored for appropriate utilization and adequate staffing. The latter, considered one of the most challenging and controversial, is extensively discussed in this chapter. Optimal staffing of an ICU is highly dependent on multiple factors including, but not limited to availability of trained personnel, educational trainees, acuity of patients, size of ICU, and economic constraints. Therefore, staffing models need to be carefully selected and implemented based on the local setting. The key commodity in ICU staffing is the availability of specialty trained personnel, namely the intensivists and ICU nurses. Thus, in order to efficiently staff the ICU, attracting and retaining the intensivists, requires creative models which may focus on time off and lifestyle factors. The benefits of open versus closed units, high-intensity versus low-intensity models, and the classic academic and 24-h models are explored to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the benefits of these complex options and associated outcomes.


ICU staffing ICU beds Leapfrog Group ICU models Open ICU Closed ICU Moonlighting Telemedicine Advance practice providers Hospitalists Intensivists 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Critical Care and Respiratory CareThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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