I work for the second smalles hospital in Massachusetts. Total Potential
bed population: around 32 patients.
Lately, I've been taking care of 50% of the hospital population . . . two people. (Total patient census for those nights was 4!. . . for the whole hospital!!)
(About a year ago, during this time of year, there was a total patient population of ONE
!. . . . for the whole hospital!
I guess this is the slow time of year. So I'm told.
I can't say that I'm happy about this. No patients, no money . . . no hospital?!?!? (. . . No job???)
Our small rural hospital does service a large geographical area which includes South-west Massachusetts, north-west Conneticut, and mid-eastern New York state. I'm told that this is to our advantage . . . a major reason why our hospital has existed for so long. Hopefully, this is true. I do like where I work!
When our ICU/CCU unit has been closed (because of no patients), I've been floating to either the med/surg floor or the ER. I actually like doing this. It beats eating up vacation time for being "on call". (We have a choice of being either placed on call or working on another unit.) It also helps keep work interesting.
Just wondering. . . . for those of you who work in small rural hospitals:
What's your lowest census? What do you do when your unit closes because of no patients? Do you have a choice to float to another unit or take call? What's your hospital's strategy to keep open during the "slow season"?
P. S. During our "busy season" (from mid-fall to late spring) our unit usually has between 3 to 5 patients. Often, the med-surg unit is filled to capacity (about 16 patients). The maternity floor has no set busy or quite season - - it's just whenever the mothers/babies are ready . . .