this study aimed to evaluate the parameters established in cofen resolution 293/04 concerning nursing staff dimensioning in adult intensive care units (aicu). the research was conducted in six hospitals in s？o paulo city. the daily quantitative average of professionals needed for patient care was calculated according to the parameters established by cofen. the obtained results were compared with the existing number of daily staff members in these units. it was observed that the proportions recommended by cofen for the nurse category are superior to those used in the hospitals studied, which represents a challenge for brazilian nursing. mean care time values were found appropriate and represent important standards for dimensioning the minimum number of professionals in aicu. this study contributed to the validation of the parameters indicated in resolution 293/04 for nursing staff dimensioning in the aicu.