I've been working ER for about 10 months now, and am curious about how other facilities staff their ERs. I've already searched what various posters have as ratios for their facilities, but what kind of responsiblities go along with those ratios?
I ask this because our ratio is 4:1, but essentially when the patient is brought back, we have a blank slate and are responsible for everything. IV, labs and istats, meds, urine, urine preg, etc. We don't have medics, and our techs can't start IVs or do anything even mildly invasive aside from foleys and I+O caths. Sometimes we have a float nurse on a good day, but that's not the norm. We have gone 5:1 when staffing really sucked, but I shudder at the thought of taking 6 patients and being responsible for all the tasks and getting them taken care of in a timely manner. Maybe it's just a matter of actually having to care for 6 and getting used to the flow?
One of my coworkers on orientation came to our hospital from a trauma center in Arizona where the ratio was 6:1, but she said she actually found that ratio easier to handle than the 4:1 at our non-trauma hospital because of delegation to support staff.
So, basically, how do y'all with the higher ratios do it?