Aim: This review sought to identify and describe evidence regarding the value and benefits of datasets to support nursing workforce planning and quality patient care. Design: Scoping review. Data sources: The following data bases were searched Ovid EMCARE, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Informit, and ProQuest Dissertations. Review methods: The Joanna Briggs Scoping review guidelines informed the structure of this review which entailed a stepped search strategy. 3036 records were screened by title and abstract by two independent reviewers for relevance to the aims of the review, with disputes resolved by a third independent reviewer. Following assessment of 44 full-text documents, 18 were included in the review. Results: There is limited evidence on the attributes or efficacy of workforce datasets. This is linked to the multiple variabilities across clinical settings and jurisdictions, such as education and qualifications, the nomenclature of nursing titles, clinical facility/unit classification, and the quantification of patient acuity, among other factors. A comprehensive workforce dataset was not reported in the literature examined here. Conclusion: The absence of evidence regarding standardised workforce datasets and their value is impacting on nurse leaders’ capacity to proactively plan and develop a viable strategy for sustaining the nursing workforce. Impact: The lack of standardised national workforce datasets and their efficacy results in inadequate, ad hoc or contradictory approaches to workforce planning.