Med Surg Nurses: How many patients do you care for? - page 2

Hi all! How many patients are you allowed to care of at a time on your med surg floor during days or nights? In our hospital, on days, we go up to 6 and night shift can take up to 7. Just curious.... Read More

  1. by   yardienurse
    for the past month 10 both on days and nights I'm in NC
  2. by   proud nurse
    I'll be starting a new job in a few weeks on an oncology/medical floor and was told we typically have up to 7 patients on the night shift. I find that super scary and insane considering I'm still a new RN, and only had 4 max at my last job.
  3. by   CherylRNBSN
    Quote from cheez1285
    Do you guys think having 6 patients on a med surg floor on days is too much? Just curious to see what people think!
    I work med surg and six is standard.

    IT"S TOO MANY. PERIOD.

    We typically discharge and immediately readmit. It is not uncommon to "process" 9 pts.

    I have been chewed out twice by a urologist who expects his bladder irrigations to be attended to q 15 min.I actually AGREE that they need to be, but...
    If I have 6 pts. on three different halls, three different pts screaming for narcotics every two or three hrs (along with nausea med and benadryl meds (sickle cell)), pts vomiting or incontinent, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. I am one human being who can only attend to one pt at a time!!

    I have read a couple of articles on line that really recommend a max of 5:1 for med-surg. But
    I have been told that 6:1 is "the national standard" , and ratios will not change for that reason. (anyone know anything about that?)

    I have complained to my charge nurse about not being able to staff FOR ACUITY. She told me this had been brought up before, and wished me luck w getting it changed! (spoken out of frustration, b/c apparently she has tried.)

    I can promise you: I love my job, but I will not be abused. I will get out of med surg if it continues. There are way too many nights I leave at 9pm or later. And I'm sick of it!

    If hospitals could only understand they are shooting themselves in foot. By complications, readmissions, falls, nurse turn over, etc.

    My unit does a spectacular job of Press Ganey. And that credit goes to all the HARDWORKING, dedicated, competent nurses and TEAMWORK.

    If only the charge nurses had the freedom to STAFF FOR ACUITY. But it's a formula: 6:1.
  4. by   KMRN81
    I'm not a nurse yet; I graduate this summer in Maryland, but I am so glad you all are talking about this. It's interesting to hear your perspectives on how many patients are too many!!
  5. by   ukjenn231
    6 or 7 on nights. I think 5 or 6 on days, for med/surg and tele. This is in Florida.
    In Kentucky, I had max 5 MS and max 4 tele.

    I find it is difficult to spend any time whatsoever with your patients when you have more than 5. I just feel like a robot walking from room to room, passing meds, and charting. But I get it done, I don't stay late, I figure it out.
  6. by   Riseupandnurse
    Five is ok IF they are the same 5 at the end of the shift that you started out with. Unfortunately, that is very often not the case. An admit or discharge is often like having 2 patients instead of 1.
  7. by   WildflowerRN
    7 on the night shift, with one tech for the entire 30-room floor. Errghhh...
  8. by   2bTraumaRN2008
    We average 5 on days, 6-7 at night, but I don't work nights. And yes, we average 3-4 d/c's out of our 5 pts and get another RIGHT back in...99% of the time, no admissions/discharges at night, we fill them right back up on day shift.
  9. by   enchantmentdis
    I like the phrase "allowed to care for" as opposed to "forced to care for".
  10. by   MadpeysRN
    I am going to be starting nights, they have 5-6 patients/nurse and no PCT...
    I am a wee bit nervous, No PCT on nights is that common and doable?
  11. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    Quote from cheez1285
    Do you guys think having 6 patients on a med surg floor on days is too much? Just curious to see what people think!
    Basically, yes, though if you have CNAs, a lift team, a unit clerk, phlebotomists, and ample supplies then I think 6 is manageable.

    If you're flying solo and you have patients who are incontinent or ALOC or fall risks or skin breakdown or aspiration risks (sounds like about 95% of our patients, huh?), or you have to chase stuff down, patients are not going to receive high-quality care... you're just stretched too thin to accommodate disruptions. Even 5 patients can be a challenge in such circumstances.

    I'm in CA and our max ratio is 4:1 in the ED unless they're ICU acuity in which case we're at 2:1 or 1:1 depending on the situation.
  12. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    Quote from Belle Morte
    I am going to be starting nights, they have 5-6 patients/nurse and no PCT...I am a wee bit nervous, No PCT on nights is that common and doable?
    Well, it really depends... all it takes is one serious 'sundowner' to eat up buckets of your time... and lots of patients choose the 0300-0400 time to crump...

    You'll come to rely on your fellow nurses... you'll only survive working as a team.
  13. by   Hagabel
    I work in NZ and our ratio in ED is 1:4 or 1:1 if they are in resus or really sick. In the US I worked various ED's and it was normally 1:4 or occassionally 1:5. I cannot imagine working a floor and having 4-7 pts!

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