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Updated in 2022: AWHONN’s Staffing Standards

Published on: Jun 30, 2022

medical team
Photo credit: Monkey Business/Adobe Stock

The past two years have presented nurses with unprecedented staffing challenges, and adequate staffing is critical to providing safe, high-quality nursing care. In particular, staffing needs in perinatal units are dynamic, consistent with the various types of patients and clinical situations encountered in a perinatal service.

AWHONN’s Standards for Professional Registered Nurse Staffing for Perinatal Units provides health care leaders, who are responsible for ensuring that adequate nurse staffing is budgeted for and resourced, with a vetted tool to justify the measures needed to reach appropriate nursing levels that ensure safe and appropriate staffing to promote high-quality care and the best possible outcomes.

Within this resource, you will find the tools you need to get started with defining and implementing standardized nurse staffing practices by using:

Detailed background and rationale for standard registered nurse-to-patient ratios based on recommendations and publications by professional and regulatory associations and the AWHONN member survey
Updated tables that include registered nurse-to-patient ratios across the spectrum of care for hospitalized pregnant and postpartum patients and their newborns, as well as expanded supportive rationale statements
NEW: Detailed appendices with sample acuity grids, contingency staffing plans, overcapacity trigger grid, and examples of disaster planning

Learn more at