Healthcare organisations have a responsibility to ensure that nurse staffing is sufficient for the provision of safe and high quality care for patients. However, links have been made between higher nurse staffing level and some patient safety outcomes such as falls, medication errors, and missed nursing care (Griffiths et al., 2014).

A considerable number of workforce planning technologies are available to nursing managers to determine staffing requirements. Whilst there has been progress in developing nursing workforce decision-making technologies, there is a requirement to improve their accuracy as a basis for resource allocation. Furthermore it is unclear how technologies and processes take account of factors across patient groups, staff groups and organisational systems. Little attention has been paid to supporting the implementation of nursing workforce planning technologies in different clinical management contexts.

This study will investigate how workforce planning technologies work, how they are implemented across different organisations, and will offer explanations of how particular features of these are more likely to promote high quality care for patients. This review will address gaps in existing knowledge on workforce planning systems and technologies by identifying how nurse staffing can be both responsive to local needs and patterns of work, and focused on quality nursing input that match patients' needs at given times.

We are particularly interested in what works in workforce planning technologies, for whom, and in what circumstances, in order to guide nursing and workforce managers in practical decision-making around nurse staffing, patient safety, and quality.