Skip to main content

The Buddy Staffing Model (BSM) Seen as Beneficial by Surveyed RNs

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   December 13, 2021

New survey explores nurses' perception of 'buddies' or 'patient care extenders.'

The Buddy Staffing Model (BSM)—where a RN is temporarily redeployed to a new area to meet surge capacity—may serve as a valuable logistical staffing tool for nurse leaders, along with other benefits, according to a new article by two nurse executives.

The article, authored by Elizabeth Molle, PhD, RN, and Mary Allegra, DNP, NPD-BC, NEA-BC, and published in the December 1, 2021, issue of Nurse Leader magazine, examines nurses' perception of BSM, which many hospitals embraced during COVID-19 surges.

Indeed, Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut, where Molle is a nurse scientist and Allegra is director of the Center for Professional Development, revised its care delivery model from primary nursing to a BSM to meet surge capacity, the article says.

"Evidence supports that pairing non-critical care nurses (i.e., medical/surgical) with experienced nurses can help effectively manage critically ill patients," according to the article, which adds that leaders interchangeably use the terms "patient care extenders" and "buddies."

The researchers created a five-item buddy staffing model perception scale, measuring the nurses' perceptions in relation to efficiency, patient safety, teamwork, fundamental nursing care, and feeling supported by leadership. 

Of the 164 nurses surveyed for the project, they perceived the BSM overall as beneficial, with the two most beneficial aspects being providing fundamental nursing care and efficiency, the article said.

"Our findings showed that nurses perceived efficiency as a benefit from the BSM, especially when used in critical care. Using buddies allows nurses to provide care quicker because it provides an extra pair of hands in the patient room for repositioning patients, especially proning ventilator-dependent patients," the article reads.

"It allows primary nurses to remain donned and in the room while the buddies can serve as runners to gather extra medications or supplies. Donning and doffing takes time and hinders efficiency."

Buddies also were vital for fundamental nursing care, the article said.

"One common fundamental task, positioning patients, became essential during this pandemic. Proning vented patients prevents complications, but requires a team approach to avoid tube dislodgement," the authors wrote. "Nurse leaders may find BSM helpful to manage challenging patient care tasks such as proning and complex dressing changes."

“Evidence supports that pairing non-critical care nurses (i.e., medical/surgical) with experienced nurses can help effectively manage critically ill patients.”

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


The Buddy Staffing Model (BSM) may serve as a staffing tool for nurse leaders.

Many hospitals embraced BSM during COVID-19 surges.

Surveyed nurses perceived the BSM overall as beneficial.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.