• nursing care intensity;
  • patient acuity;
  • patient classification;
  • staffing level;
  • workload measurement

Background  Although patient classification tools have been used in Sweden since the 1980s, few studies have examined how they are utilized and monitored.

Aim  This paper investigates the patient classification systems implemented in hospitals in the country as well as the level of satisfaction of nurses with the implemented instrument.

Method  A postal survey method was used in which a total of 128 questionnaires were sent to nurse managers. Twenty-three hospitals were identified with patient classification systems currently in operation.

Results and conclusion  The Zebra and Beakta systems are the most commonly used instruments. Nurse managers appear to be satisfied with the patient classification systems in use on their wards as a whole except for their inability to measure the quality of care provided, the time spent to use the instruments and the fact that the administration do not estimate nursing staff requirements using the system.