Accurate, precise, unbiased, reliable, and cost-effective estimates of nursing time use are needed to insure safe staffing levels. Direct observation of nurses is costly, and conventional surrogate measures have limitations. To test the potential of electronic capture of time and motion through real time location systems (RTLS), a pilot study was conducted to assess efficacy (method agreement) of RTLS time use; inter-rater reliability of RTLS time-use estimates; and associated costs. Method agreement was high (mean absolute difference = 28 seconds); inter-rater reliability was high (ICC = 0.81–0.95; mean absolute difference = 2 seconds); and costs for obtaining RTLS time-use estimates on a single nursing unit exceeded $25,000. Continued experimentation with RTLS to obtain time-use estimates for nursing staff is warranted. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.