Advice ASAP for Rapid Response calls, lack of staffing?

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    I am a charge nurse of an ICU, I am normally in charge with no patients. My responsibilites are to help staff, make sure we are staffed, answer codes and rapid response calls. Acuity was high, we were short 2 nurses, I had 2 patients and 3 call-offs that I needed to get covered. I notified the supervisor of my situation. She said she had no floats to provide me so I would have to find nurses. I informed her that there was no way I could go to a rapid response call and the nurse on the floor would have to call the Dr. with changes. The supervisor at that time did not say anything so I assumed she agreed?? However a rapid response was called and I did not go so the supervisor reported me and called my manager at home. We are going to have a meeting over this but the undertone is that no matter how bad ICU is.... someone always has to answer the rapid calls! Where is an ICU nurses liability when when she leaves critical pts on the floor and there is no staff to watch them?
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    Be clearer with the supervisor. No means no when you cannot leave your pt assignment for that long a time. It is your nursing license....not hers. Most RR calls could be handled by any savvy RN with appropriate help, so hopefully a back up plan can be pinned down before this happens again. Good luck!


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