nurse to patient ratio

  1. I was just curious about the nurse to patient ratios out there, especially for those on night shift. What are your ratios...and do you consider them safe?
    •  
  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   RN-PA
    At our hospital, the nurse to patient ratio is often 1:11 on nights. There are often a number of LPN's, too, so the RN is sometimes responsible for 22 patients! (We are a 65 bed med-surg unit with everything from ortho to peds to renal to resp to chemo to post-op, etc. etc.)

    The nurses are bailing left and right to other floors and units. They hire Agency nurses from time to time and have been offering $2000 bonuses to get RN's to rotate to nights for a month at a time. But the regular night shift staff are all burnt out and angry at the amount of patients they have to take. The latest burden our new manager has added is that all night shift nurses need to be chemo. AND peds. certified. That is also in the job descriptions for all the open positions on nights.

    As a 3-11 nurse, I try to do as much as possible for the nurses before I leave because I feel so sorry for them... Our manager treats the situation as if she's got a horde of nurses waiting in the wings, ready to take the night shift nurses' places when they get fed up enough to finally leave.
  4. by   RNforLongTime
    I work on a 30 bed medical respiratory/cardiac floor. Because of the staffing shortage on our unit our census is currently capped at 24. The hospital is in the process of hiring LPNs for the med/surg units. This should prove to be interesting as I am sure that I will have to cover their patients as well as my own. I work night shift and our staffing ratio is 1:8. NEVER EVER more than that.
  5. by   thisnurse
    unfortuantely, we dont use LPN's. i wish we did because they are more responsible than the assistants (generally speaking) because they have a license at stake while the assistants do not.

    most patients i have had on nights was 13 with one assistant. unsafe? absolutely.
    and it wouldnt be all THAT bad if we didnt have all that damn admission paperwork to do.
    usually we have 10 pts with one assistant, 8 alone.
    our acuity is getting more severe. we are seeing so many cases that have no business being on our floor but we are the hospital dump. acuity is something that seems to be overlooked when the assignments are done.
  6. by   newnurse72
    I JUST FINISHED ORIENTING ON A MED SURG UNIT ON DAYS, AND AM NOW WORKING NIGHTS. WE HAVE 25-30 BEDS, 3 RNS AND 1 CNA. WE ARE ALSO USUALLY SHORT STAFFED, SO ONE NIGHT AN ICU NURSE FLOATED TO OUR UNIT. SHE SAID ALOT OF THE PATIENTS ON OUR UNIT ARE JUST AS SICK AS HER LOAD ON ICU, BUT THEY ONLY HAVE 2-3 PATIENTS EACH. I AM USUALLY SICK TO MY STOMACH WHEN I GET HOME. THE RNS ON MY FLOOR SAY IT WILL GET EASIER....I DONT KNOW!
  7. by   aus nurse
    I work on a acute care rural medical ward where we have one rn to 22 patients and one en ( I think this is equivalent to your lpn's, is this right?) on night duty. Management's perception is that it is quiet at night!
    We spend the night running and no wonder are looking elsewhere for work.
  8. by   misskek
    I work med/surg/oncology, each nurse, whether RN or LPN will have 7 to 8 patients, sometimes nine now. With no nuses aid and often no secretary to answer phones, call lights, enter drs orders etc. Do I think this is unsafe ? obsolutley! We are unable to teach, everything we do is rushed so this irritates patients even more, they then become aggrevated and shout at us, their relatives shout at us and finally the drs shout at us too. So its a case of faster faster faster, try keep everyone happy, but dont forget ..... dont make a mistake, lives are at risk ( and your license ) make that coffee, run get some food, get the pain shot while you are at it, do it faster ... and ooops, dont forget that paper work ... faster faster faster .... me ? eat ? go to the bathroom ? hurt my back ? ummmmm .... wow, what a job, recommend nursing to other ? no, not while it is like this, not at all. Doing myself a disservice by not doing so? perhaps, but I truely dont think that there being more nurses out there will make much of a difference, because to employ more nurses will cut into profit and lets face it, that seems to be what health care is about, isnt it ?? ( burned out? perhaps, but is there any wonder? ) phew, did I vent! ( excuse the spelling mistakes, typed in a hurry )
  9. by   jules-RN
    I'm leaving the hospital where I got my first job at. When I started on the med/respiratory floor, the ratios were 1:10-13 depending on whether or not the step down unit was open. But of the 10-13, you might have a stable floor vent and/or 1 or 2 bipap patients. Even now, 4 1/2 years later, the ratios are still bad on the med-surg floors...1:7-10. And 80% of the time there are no nursing assistants, just the RNs.

    The hospital where I will be starting soon has a ratio of 1:7 max, with 2 nursing assistants on nights. We'll see how it goes.
  10. by   studentnurse_02
    Hi, just wanted to put my two cents in. well, i found out today that i got a job at the local hospital on a med floor. In my interview, she told me on nights (which is the shift i will be on) usually is 7:1 but sometimes the charge nurse will take pt's to make the ratio 6:1. I thought that was alot, but apparently not compared to everyone else's response.
  11. by   plumrn
    At our rural hosp. days has 1:6-7; nights has 1:7-8. We have a med nurse 7a-3p, and usually 2 cna's both shifts. Day charge nurse is not supposed to take pts, but lately have had anywhere from 2-5 pts. Night charge almost always takes near full load to a full load.
    The charge is the only RN on duty- all the rest are LVNs. So if we have 10 or 24 pts, there is only one RN. This is better than a lot of places, but we still run all day and rarely get any more than a lunch break during the 12hr shift.
  12. by   scrappy
    misskek, I couldn't have said it better.
  13. by   Suzy15
    At the hospital I work at in CT the ratios on 3-11 are usually 1:6. We have pediatric patients as well on this med/surg floor.
  14. by   KSEFLINK
    Exciting news in California-state mandated staffing levels. We are already at 1:6 on tele and med-surg and will probably be going to 1:5. Now if we could just get nurses!!I think staffing levels are great but where should we find all of these qualified staff. Even with the new grads, it won' be enough. But at least relief is in sight

close