The economic cost crisis and the need for reducing costs while assuring a high service level to patients are the drivers of the introduction of operations management tools in the hospital environment. With the premise of flexible shifts schedules, the assessment of the actual nursing time can enable a wise resource planning, balancing the efficiency in resource usage (avoiding overstaffing) with the quality of care (assuring the presence of an adequate number of nurses to care patients). This paper proposes an innovative simulation method to plan daily nurse requirements in which the best number of nurses for each shift according to a desired service level is defined taking into account real requirements of hospitalized patients. In particular, patient dependence from nurses has been correlated to the time needed to perform nurse tasks deduced from the clinical pathway of patients. The validation and verification of the proposal have been assessed in a stroke unit.
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