Day Vs. Night Ratio?

  1. 0
    Does your nurse to patient ratio change from day shift to night shift? Do you think it should? Do you think it's fair if it does or doesn't?

    Ours doesn't. Max 6 patients on days, max 6 patients on nights. While I don't think night shift should have more than 6 patients, I would like day shift to be capped at 5 patients. I wouldn't say that it's not fair that we have the same amount of patients on day shift, but I still feel it's easier for night shift to handle 6 patients vs day shift.

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  2. Poll: Does your patient ratio change from shift to shift?

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  3. 14 Comments...

  4. 2
    as a former night nurse I will add that people do not all go to sleep and stay that way all night. Many nights we were running with new admits and caring for those already admitted. I think the ratio should be the same each shift.
  5. 0
    I work nights, and I think that we should be able to carry a higher ratio. Days on my floor should be 1:4-5 and nights should be 1:5-6. I don't base this on time for pt care or admits, but moreso on discharges. Discharges are so involved and convoluted as to what the RN has to do, that doing more than on in a shift, along with pt care on any more than 5 pts becomes fairly impossible. Our staffing matrix allows for these ratios but day shift is generally short-staffed, even more than night shift, and they have been carrying 6 and 7 patients, which is unsafe and pushes a lot of day shift work onto night shift (yes, I understand that nursing is 24 hrs, but this is more than that).
  6. 1
    Have you ever worked nights? I've done both, and it is NOT easier to have 6 on nights. Pts don't sleep. Bed alarms and call lights are constantly going off, pts with sundowners are all over the place, we get 1-3 new admits per RN at night. Days are busy, but so are nights and nights are in no way easier.
    exit96 likes this.
  7. 1
    Discharges - the reason I will never work days . When I have to do one at night I hate it. And the paperwork and med forms are always changing. Once had to apologize to a pt. and explain that I just couldn't figure out the
    paperwork. Luckily he was A & O x 4 and just wanted to get the hell out of there. Drove me crazy though.
    Last edit by Nightshiftsk on Mar 22, '12 : Reason: Typo
    exit96 likes this.
  8. 0
    I don't know about other floors but on days the nurses deal with admits (from ED and PACU), discharges, new orders, and family members. Night shift gets the occasional admit (only ED), no discharges, the occasional new order, and usually no family members as our hospital has visiting hours. I have done both. It is just busier on days. So yes, I do think a nurse can handle a larger patient load on night shift.
  9. 0
    I work days.. on days we have 3-4 patients..which i think is a very good ratio.. our staffing is very good on our floor so i'm not complaining. PM shift if pretty much the same as day shift ratio... 4 is usually their max...unless we are really short staff or we have a call in
    Night shift on out floor has 6 patients max.
  10. 0
    Days at my hospital is supposed to be 4-5 per nurse (note the emphasis) while nights is 5-6 per nurse. We get more admits but less discharges (which is fine) but we have NO HELP. Secretary only till 2300 and usually NO tech for 6 patients per nurse. If we had help, the higher number would be fine, but without it... Half of these patients don't sleep. And the elderly patient who's a doll during the day? Absolute PSYCHO at night - combative and trying to fall out of bed every 5 minutes.
  11. 0
    I work postpartum--moms and newborns. We get admissions around the clock, and the babies can't tell time so many of the mothers are awake throughout the night. We night shift nurses usually have a little more time to help the breastfeeding moms learn what they're doing. And we can do some of the mountain of teaching our patients need before dishcharge.

    Day shift has an extra nurse or two when there are a lot of discharges expected, and that only makes sense.
  12. 0
    We have 6 patients days and nights, but I think it should be 4-5 max on days and 5-6max on nights. For us, there are things day shift has to deal with that night shift does not typically deal with: discharges, patients going off/coming back on floor for testing/procedures, phone ringing off the hook, new orders, having our work flow interrupted by discovering PT/OT/Speech/SW/dietician/MD/etc is in room working with patient, multidisciplinary rounds. I was told at the interview for my job that day shift is typically 5 patients per nurse and will occasionally go to 6, but since last spring, we've been running consistently at 6 for all nurses on day shift.


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