Med/ surg nurse to patient ratio

  1. What is the normal med surg ratio? I just started to this new facility that cancelled nurses all the time stating that low census, but let the nurses on the floor with 7 patients. I feel like 7 patient is too much and how can you expect to give quality care for patient when you have that much patient.
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from aloha16
    What is the normal med surg ratio? I just started to this new facility that cancelled nurses all the time stating that low census, but let the nurses on the floor with 7 patients. I feel like 7 patient is too much and how can you expect to give quality care for patient when you have that much patient.
    My first job as a new grad has a med/surg ratio of 1:8 ...and each RN was assigned an LVN to cover. The LVN also had 8 patients. Now I have up to 5, and it's pretty rare for me to even have that many.
  4. by   saskrn
    Quote from aloha16
    What is the normal med surg ratio? I just started to this new facility that cancelled nurses all the time stating that low census, but let the nurses on the floor with 7 patients. I feel like 7 patient is too much and how can you expect to give quality care for patient when you have that much patient.
    I've worked in various units, in a lot of different hospitals as permanent staff and a traveler, and patient ratios can vary a lot. It also depends what shift you're working.

    I like working nights, and on med/surg floors I've seen anywhere from 3 to 13 patients. But for the most part, an average assignment would be 6 to 8 patients.

    You mentioned that the nurses had 7 patients, and that it felt like too many. IMHO and experience, an assignment with 7 patients on med/surg is not abnormal or unexpected.

    Good luck!
  5. by   applewhitern
    Our medical-surgical floors have a 1:8 ratio. Our ICU's have 1:3.
  6. by   SaltySarcasticSally
    I am on a telemetry floor, we get M/S overflow as well but we are 1:5 on days.
  7. by   brillohead
    Days = 3-4; Nights = 5-6.
  8. by   BloomNurseRN
    I hear most places it is normal to have an average ratio of 6-8 patients for every 1 RN. On my unit we have a ratio of 5:1, which is much more manageable.
  9. by   nursemols
    I work on a telemetry/neuron floor with m/s overflow. We are capped at six patients..which can be really difficult sometimes and other times not so much depending on the acuity
  10. by   Emm_RN
    Where I worked previously, we had 5-6 on daylight and sometimes 7 on nights. Very occasionally we had 8 on nights if we could absolutely not get any resource RNs and charge already had a full assignment.
  11. by   caffeinatednurse
    During my first med-surg job, I had 8-9 patients with no CNA. (I worked nights.) 7 isn't bad for nights. Day shift nurses had 5-6.
  12. by   organichombre
    You have hit the nail on the head! "I feel like 7 patient is too much and how can you expect to give quality care for patient when you have that much patient." Management usually does not care about the compassionate, caring aspect of nursing...they see numbers. How easy is your documentation system to navigate, have you completed all of the new little addendum's and add ons to programs, do you have missed or late meds and why,transfers, discharges, new admits? All of these things create unrealistic expectations for some of us and we are stuck after shift completing paperwork, missing lunch/breaks and so it goes. A lot of new nurses see this workload and say, "Ok, I can get all the paperwork done and my patients will look great on paper, but I'll be damned if I can spend time with such and such or so and so". Delegation is key to so much and many nurses fail to use this acquired skill and resource properly. Good luck out there!
  13. by   Mandychelle79
    I only work nights... 1:6is normal ratio... days is 1:4-6 with charge with no assignment to help
  14. by   SobreRN
    California has legal guidelines of 5 for M/S and 4 telemetry which is plenty given they are rolled out of the ICU door the nanosecond they are extubated...

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