Now I understand why there is a nursing shortage - page 2

I am a new nurse and I am on orientation now for almost 4 weeks at the hospital. I work on a med surge floor. I am given 8 patients to give medications, assessments, etc etc. The work is... Read More

  1. by   kendel
    Quote from Kylee45
    Gee, we're easy to find... just look for the closed doors. 99.9% of the time we're in a room doing patient care.

    My problem is when I need a nurse to report abnormal vitals, patient needs meds, etc. I can't find the nurses...

    funny you are being realy funny
  2. by   kendel
    i realize also that the pts are not being turned and positioned every 2 hours and they pick up a lot of hospital acquired infections.

    I wash my hands all the time but not every one does that

    i dont know what else to do but 8 pt is toooooo much for me to give care.
    the pts overall like me and thank me for what i am doing and i love to help people but what about being overwhelmed with sooo much work while i am on my feet 12 .5hrs
  3. by   bthynn
    Ok I do not usually post i just lurk.... but here it goes

    I agree that nursing school no longer prepares nurses for the real world and then they have taken away alot of the extern programs too..if they still have them then the extern just works as a glorified Aide..but is able to do some skills such as IV's and foleys..etc.

    I have been a nurse for 13 yrs have worked med-surg and never had less than 7 pts unless the census was low then they would send everyonehome and you would still end up with 7-8 or more....I went to ER...not alot better...assigned to 4 beds but if it was busy...still ended up with a big load...

    Nursing is a hard profession and not as glamorous as it is made out to be...I enjoy pt care very much and love the hands on care...but someone needs to let new nurses know that it is a hard job and sometimes the loads are heavy...we have so many new grads that are so unaware of how it really is...but the most important part of it is that you are helping someone and providing a service that only you can give to that patient...

    Maybe. you should talk to your manager and let them know you are overwhelmed and see if they have any suggestions.

    Goodluck to all the nursing students and if youcan do an extern program...do it...it at least gets you used to the unit and the hospital and how things work.....
  4. by   mianders
    I have never worked med/surg but the hospitals where I have worked the ratio was usually 1/6. I have never heard of 1 nurse being assigned more than 6 or 7 patients. In the ER's I have worked in it is usually 4-5 pts if they were medical and 2-3 if you had the trauma rooms. From what I have seen over the years not getting your breaks is the norm not the exception in any type of nursing. The work load can be overwhelming at times. In spite of this I would not change professions for anything. For me the joy I feel at being there for people when they need it the most by far outweighs the cons.
  5. by   RNroseshea
    Quote from RN1989
    I wish every nursing school was so forthcoming. It would weed out applicants a lot faster so that only the truly brave hearted souls that could stick it out for the long haul would be going to nursing school. It would cause some hardship in the workforce at first but after a while the turnover would be lower and we might actually make some headway with nursing and our healthcare system.
    Brave to me is not working yourself out of your good health..that's insane. Most rational people know their limit and know when their body/mind is being screwed due to being overworked. Whatever happened to standing up for yourself? Where are the great preceptors that do not eat their young and try to push them out of nursing? We need nurses..and that will never change! However, as soon as a new nurse hits the floor, the experienced ones turn their noses up at the new nurse as if they have never endured the breaking in phase as a new RN. Being tough does not mean that you tolerate bs from the employer (who does not care anything about you but money) handing out theses insane patient loads that are unsafe for any new nurse.
    Believe me, no school/instructor in any country is going to let each of their clinical students have 8-12 patients because that is deemed "real world" because I am sure that their license would be in jeopardy! That is way to risky for any instructor/student. This would only further the shortage of nurse instructors of colleges even.

    Unfortunately, there are not enough nurses let alone nursing instructors. Remember, there are so many other hospitals that don't work you like a chicken with your head cut off (unsafe). There are even nurse jobs outside of the hospital especially correlating with the amount of education one has.
  6. by   Virgo_RN
    My God. Eight patients. I cannot imagine. Where I work, four is the norm, five is when we have a high census, and six is when the poop is hitting the fan. I work on the evening shift (3-11). Fortunately, our hospital wants to become a "magnet" hospital, so some of our nurses are actively lobbying for lower ratios.

    And on the aide thing, I understand it from both ends. As an aide, there simply weren't enough of me. I had to tell nurses "not now" too many times, not because I was lazy and didn't want to work, but because I was running my tail off. When I got home from work, my body ached from head to toe, and I'm in pretty good shape. Now, as a nurse, there are far too many instances when I can't find an aide when I need one. And I'm not just talking about getting a patient a snack or a warm blanket. I can do those things. It's just that if I am going to keep my head above water, I need to delegate as much as I can delegate, so that I can focus on the things that I cannot delegate. The fact is, we need more aides, and we need more good ones who work hard. I had the pleasure of working with an awesome aide over the weekend. I had a 100 year old lady who needed toileting every two hours and was a two person assist. That aide never ONCE made me track her down to toilet the patient. She tracked me down, and we did it together. It was so nice to have her dependable help.
    Last edit by Virgo_RN on Dec 20, '07
  7. by   NursePaula
    Quote from TheCommuter
    California is the only state with ratio laws for nurses who are employed in acute care facilities. The remaining 49 states of the union do not have any ratio laws whatsoever. Relocating is easier said than done, especially when an individual is settled in life.
    My suggesting a move to California was more of a funny versus really expecting. I also thought that I was just passing on info in general. And I also was hoping that the OP got a bit of encouragement because I did say that I worked at another facility in the same town and it was very different. No aides and no relief for breaks, etc. along with not being able to declare no break because then the big ole "black ball" began rolling your way.

    Nursing in general is an extremely hard and demanding profession, but with that being said I cannot imagine any other job that I would want. These discussion boards do help when you need to vent and release some pressure cause there are others out there that understand what you are saying. Hard to explain to anyone who hasn't done it (like your family, friends that aren't nurses, etc.)

    Keep looking and I hope that the OP finds a place in nursing that she feels is a "fit" for her.

    And thanks to all of you for keeping me thinking about nursing and all it has to offer....

    Paula
  8. by   st4wb3rr33sh0rtc4k3
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I've been seriously pondering a switch to night shift, so as to escape the interruptions, visitors, rounding doctors, PTs, OTs, dietary people, social workers, managers, and abusive family members. I can deal with needy patients, but these other people and their demands are enough to push a sane person over the edge.

    Seriously...I'm sick and tired right now. I'm merely trying to make it to my 2 year anniversary in February before I make any rash moves.
    Yeah, it doesn't matter which shift you work, there is always something else you have to do in the night shift.

    As the the nursing shortage thing, I really don't know if that is happening "everywhere" anymore. Especially, if you are like me with less than five years experience. I started out in Sub-Acute/Alzheimers and then went on to Med-Surg. I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. So I will just stick with this for now.

    Sometimes I am scared to leave it, because I am afraid I will lose all my bedside skills. I am thinking about case management, because I love Alzheimer's so much.
    Last edit by st4wb3rr33sh0rtc4k3 on Dec 20, '07
  9. by   CaLLaCoDe
    I am very fortunate I began my nursing career for one in California (though at the end of my orientation I was getting 6 patients, ouch!)...I definitely feel for you! In January the ratio will change to 4 pts to RN. Yippeee!!!

    I also had and still have a remarkable crew of nurses as my working buddies who will help you hands down when the getting gets rough. So I'm blessed.

    I wish upon wish things improve country wide; perhaps if we get Clinton into office?!

    Anyway, good luck to you in your nursing career! Cheers!
  10. by   sistasoul
    Quote from Kylee45
    Gee, we're easy to find... just look for the closed doors. 99.9% of the time we're in a room doing patient care.

    My problem is when I need a nurse to report abnormal vitals, patient needs meds, etc. I can't find the nurses...
    I think the aides and the nurses are run ragged. It is crazy. I graduate in May 2008 and work as an LNA. I plan to go to med surge for a year and then to the ICU. Hopefully having 2 patients in the ICU is not as crazy as the medsurge floors.
  11. by   kendel
    Quote from RNroseshea
    Brave to me is not working yourself out of your good health..that's insane. Most rational people know their limit and know when their body/mind is being screwed due to being overworked. Whatever happened to standing up for yourself? Where are the great preceptors that do not eat their young and try to push them out of nursing? We need nurses..and that will never change! However, as soon as a new nurse hits the floor, the experienced ones turn their noses up at the new nurse as if they have never endured the breaking in phase as a new RN. Being tough does not mean that you tolerate bs from the employer (who does not care anything about you but money) handing out theses insane patient loads that are unsafe for any new nurse.
    Believe me, no school/instructor in any country is going to let each of their clinical students have 8-12 patients because that is deemed "real world" because I am sure that their license would be in jeopardy! That is way to risky for any instructor/student. This would only further the shortage of nurse instructors of colleges even.

    Unfortunately, there are not enough nurses let alone nursing instructors. Remember, there are so many other hospitals that don't work you like a chicken with your head cut off (unsafe). There are even nurse jobs outside of the hospital especially correlating with the amount of education one has.

    Thank You

    I totally agree with you.

    i have 8 pts each day and they lied to me on the interview
    they told me the nurse pt ratio was 6 to 1

    i can hard ly keep up with 8 now

    i went to help a pt that i am not assigned to , pt was almost falling out of bed i went in the room and prevented a fall and 15 minutes later managersaid pt have scabes.

    and i might catch it

    WHAT................
  12. by   kendel
    Quote from Kylee45
    Gee, we're easy to find... just look for the closed doors. 99.9% of the time we're in a room doing patient care.

    My problem is when I need a nurse to report abnormal vitals, patient needs meds, etc. I can't find the nurses...

    thats because we the nurses are in the other room

    lol
  13. by   Valerie Salva
    Quote from angel337
    i can't help but blame the nursing programs. when i went to school i new EXACTLY what floor nursing entailed. i was not the least bit surprised when i graduated. my program and our instructors were very realistic and they told us that we would have 6-12 patients on a med surg floor. for that reason alone alot of my classmates chose critical care areas (ICU/ER). i just don't understand why so many new grads are surprised. what was clinical like?? did the nurses only have 2-3 patients??? i doubt it. i am not pointing a finger at you personally,its just that this seems to be the norm and i am wondering what goes wrong in between clinicals and graduation. i remember being in clinical and thinking "there is no way in *ell that i would work med surg" i absolutely hated it for the reasons you mentioned and i have only done ER with the exception of being floated to the floor. which wasn't too bad once i became a more experienced nurse. you also have to consider the hospital and their support. is there a good new grad program in place?? do they have a good nurse/patient ratio? some hospitals pay more because the environment is horrible and they know that so they try to make up by paying a little more. sometimes you have to take a pay cut to have peace of mind. i wish you luck in what you decide. don't give up and don't give in. you deserve to benefit from working hard for your license.
    I recently participated in a thread on the pre-nursing forum- People who are not even in nursing school yet were posting about how nursing is "lower stress" than "most other fields."

    We all know that is a highly inaccurate statement. When I replied saying so, the pre-nurses let me know in no uncertain terms that my opinions and advice were not wanted.

    I guess they'll find out the hard way.

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