This article describes a three-year project between nurse researchers, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the provincial nurses' union and nurses and leadership from two Regina tertiary care emergency departments. The purpose of the project was to create staffing guidelines based on patients' priority care needs. A patient needs assessment tool – the synergy tool – was used to categorize patients' acuity and dependency needs. Staffing guidelines were developed to match patients' needs to nurses' years of experience and classification. Staffing guidelines based on patient needs were compared to guidelines determined by operational budgets. The identified staffing gaps resulted in nurse hires for both emergency departments.