This was during my LPN years in acute care. Our unit's capacity was 25. The beginning census was 2. Needless the say, all techs were cancelled. The only nurses not cancelled was myself, another LPN, and an RN charge. This was during the days of 8-hour shifts and the hours were from 3pm-11pm. We still had paper orders and the only documentation done on the now-relic of a computer system was an extremely simplified two-hour rounding notation.
Well, by 11pm, we were at full capacity. Twenty-three admissions!!! The only thing we could do was bed-n-admit 'em! No one and I mean absolutely NO ONE received ANY medications that shift...not even an aspirin! There was no one available to process (sign off) and fax orders to the pharmacy. All three of us were knee-deep in admissions. Phones were ringing off the hook with no one at the desk available to answer, and when we did happen upon the desk, it was ER calling for another bed!
The unit was on the 4th floor and had an outside balcony directly across from the nurses station. The door was chained because of a previous suicide attempt a couple of years back. Had it not been chained, I would have jumped that evening myself.
Twenty-three admissions in eight hours on one acute care hospital floor