From the tele floor side of the house, we look at ICU and go, "only 2-3 patients?" I I know your guys are sicker, but here's what it's like on the floor.
Hit the door at 1845, pee, and get your patient list. Could be as high as 8 (worst night was 10).
Get report. And I've had to stop getting report at 1915 to admit a new patient, get finished admitting my pt, and the dayshift nurses are gone, so now I've got report on 2, admissions paperwork on 1, and no freakin' clue about 5. I go get the charts. Every single chart has orders written that aren't signed off in the chart, entered in the computer, or implemented. So I'm on the phone with the doc, sorting out 1x orders not given, therapies not started, calling pharmacy before they go home at 2100, etc. It's now probably 2030, and other than a fast nose in the door to make sure everyone's still breathing, I have yet to assess the first patient.
Start the 2100 med pass, and assessing at the same times. Usually I don't have a BP closer than 3 hours, so I'm also dragging the BP machine with me. Med pass can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. I've had folks who get *kid you not* 28 pills -- and the want to take them one at a time. That's fish out a pill, ask what it is (again), take a sip, put the pill in their mouth, take another sip of water, complain they don't have enough ice, have to stop to pee, want to take the next pill with a soda/juice, state "well, I'll take the orange one, but not the yellow one." -- all while you're just wanting to grab them by the nose and pour them down so you can go to the rest of your patients. Then there's PEGs and NGT feeders, q2 turners, q2/4/6 neuro checks for evolving CVAs. Usually by then, one of the sundowners is either trying to (or has) pulled out their IV/foley/NGT. Family is staying with half the patients, and they all want pillows, sheets, blankets. You've hopefully got a CNA, but sometimes there's just 1 for 30 patients, and you're doing all your fingersticks. It's now midnight, you haven't charted anything, and the charge nurse calls you outside a room to ask if you can take a 2nd admission, since other than her, I'm the most experienced person on the floor and she doesn't think the new kids can take another pt. And if you've got someone like I had last weekend (dying endstage COPD) they are calling you to their room every 30 minutes. If you've really got someone who's going down the tubes, (CVA extends, has an MI on the floor, pops their abd. stitches, loses bowel sounds and starts puking bowel contents), you get even further behind.
There are nights where I don't finish putting in my original assessment until almost 0600, nights where I don't get to pee except maybe twice, don't get to eat, chug a juice because my sugar's tanking, and barely get everything cleaned up for dayshift -- orders signed off, meds in the computer, calls made to pharmacy about incompatible meds being ordered IV in a patient at the same time who we can't find a vein in. About 0640, here comes anesthesia wanting to put in TLCs, PICCs, do a thorocentesis, etc., and wanting you in the room -- usually 2 rooms at once.
I think what you saw with your dad is what I call an "autopilot patient" -- alert, oriented, ambulatory. They're lucky if they see me 3 x outside the med pass. Most of my patients aren't on autopilot, and if you come out to the floor from ICU, you're going to get all the "fresh from ICU" patients because of your work experience. So think about how sick the folks you send to the floor can be, and imagine having 5-7 of those, with a nice projectile vomiting, full urinal hurling off the chain pt in the DTs into the mix.
I just don't want you to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. To give you an idea, our ICU nurses WON'T work tele because they say they can't take the pt load, to the point where they all went to their boss and got made a closed unit so they couldn't be pulled.