I feel like 6 is my limit too! Although normally, I have 7, 8 or 9. 8 being average. This week we were "overstaffed" and I had 5 patients Mon/Tues and 6 on Wed
I was happy, my manager was not!
But anyway, from practice and watching more experienced nurses, the one thing I've learned, is TAKE YOUR TIME!
For example: I used to want to get all my meds passed within the "legal" window. Not going to happen with 9 patients. So here is how I try to organize myself...our PCAs do our vitals at the beginning of the shift, so when I get out of report, I know that they have already made their way down the hall, and I've been alerted to any issues with those. I check all my orders, give myself a 2 minute mental break, and then hit the floor...introduce myself to my patients and check to make sure there aren't any dangers, etc. Then, for the most part I try to go down the line by room number, and do complete care on that patient...full assessment, meds, incontinent care, etc. If I have a group that really requires prioritizing, I can't always go down the line. Sometimes I see the patient with the demanding family first...decreases interruptions.
If we are short, and I have to do my own VS, I do vitals and assessments together, then go back and do meds.
What I've learned....it is OK if meds are 30 minutes late. (Most of the time) it is not going to hurt the patient to get it a little late. Doing everything at once saves a LOT of time...and it seems like I spend longer with the patient. I've had to get over the fear of leaving the last patient down at the end of the hall for so long without me going in....but that is why I stop in at the beginning!
Hope this helped a little bit, not as organized as I'd like, but I'm sleepy