[Excerpt from author] Nurses, perhaps more than any other professional group, are affected by clinical, educational, and managerial developments in the health and social services. Consequently, decisions about the size and mix of nursing teams are critical areas for health service managers generally and nursing workforce planners specifically. Overstaffed, undermanned and imbalanced nursing teams have implications for the quality and cost of patient care. Nurses' job satisfaction and the effective education of student nurses and other staff may also be jeopardised by poorly configured nursing teams. In short, never before has it been so vital that nurses are armed with appropriate instruments and data to help them plan and implement efficient and effective nursing teams. The aim of this report, therefore, is to help nurses make better decisions about cost-effective numbers and mixes of nurses. It aims to help them make sense of the complex and uncertain world of nursing workforce planning. Commonly used nursing workforce planning methods are reviewed and classified.