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

by cheez1285 13,128 Views | 49 Comments

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. I work at a hospital near... Read More


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    Do you work nights? Yes, having 6 patients in a day is crazy. It's even crazier when you discharge 2-3 during a shift and get 2-3 admissions right back! The life of a nurse!
    janhetherington likes this.
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    I live in Washington State. We normally have 5 patients (4 on a good day). I have seen 6 but only when there was one being discharged, which would give you 5 in the end. I have noticed that our supervisor will turn away admissions if we aren't fully staffed for them. Then they go to another unit. I've also worked in Georgia and normally had 5, but I know of some nightshift RNs that had 6 occasionally. 5 seems too much to me, just because you don't have adequate time to spend with the ones who really need it.
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    Not in med surg right now but we would have 6-8 on nights. 6 is doable but 7 was really hard. 8 is unsafe IMO.

    Sometimes we would only have 1 NA and get slammed with admissions. Also recall a night where we had more aides than nurses!
  4. 1
    for the past month 10 both on days and nights I'm in NC
    maybug likes this.
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    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.
  6. 4
    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.
    Aurora77, anotherone, nurseladybug12, and 1 other like this.
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    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!!
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    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.
    nurseladybug12 likes this.
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    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.
    DizzyLizzyNurse and multi10 like this.
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    7 on the night shift, with one tech for the entire 30-room floor. Errghhh...


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