I am a relatively new ED nurse (yes, one of THEM, lol). Usually in our ED, we take care of an average of 3 pts at a time. Sometimes we have time to help out another nurse, sometimes we need help with just one pt, obviously depending on acuity.
Recently, when I arrived for work, I received report on a pt who had just been intubated within the past half-hour. All the beds in the hospital were full. So I had this patient for about three hours. Y'all know how much work said pt can be.
Once handed off to the ICU, before I could even begin to help clean that room, in comes another pt who needs immediate intubation. You know what its like to get a patient from the ED that the ED nurse thinks is 'stable', when you know otherwise (I heard that groan! lol). Well, with the hospital full, I had this pt the rest of my shift. The pt was never 'settled' by paralytics or sedation for very long the whole day. The pt was one SICK puppy, poor thing. So I hardly left the pt at all.
One patient at a time. ALL day. Only two patients the whole day. I am more exhausted today than any other shift. Ever. I feel good about myself for my work today. But my brain hurts even more than my body!
The only proper thing I can think of to say about you, you, you critical care nurses, is inspired by Wayne and Garth: "I'M NOT WORTHY" while bowing and scraping. You lot are AWESOME!