What is the maximum number of patients per nurse?

  1. Worst Case Scenario:
    1. What is the maximum number of patients per nurse on your Medical/Surgical floor?
    2. Which shift?
    3. Which state?
    4. How often do you find yourself in such a situation?

    When our nurses explained to our DON that it was not only unrealistic, but also unsafe for one nurse to take care of 12+ patients with minimal help on the night shift, he said that we were much better off than many other hospitals. Is that true?
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 3, '18
  2. Poll: How many patients per nurse?

    • 1

      0.17% 1
    • 2

      1.56% 9
    • 3

      2.43% 14
    • 4

      11.61% 67
    • 5

      25.13% 145
    • 6

      29.29% 169
    • 7

      15.08% 87
    • 8

      6.07% 35
    • 9

      2.43% 14
    • 10

      3.81% 22
    • 11

      0.87% 5
    • 12

      1.39% 8
    • 12+

      5.72% 33
    577 Votes / Multiple Choice
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    About Info(RN)matics

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 122; Likes: 43


  4. by   tparks
    We have 4 normally and 6 max with a tech
    days or nights doesn't matter
    we only go up to 6 patients when the er is going crazy or the charge nurse doesn't want to take the extra patients. We also do it only when the next shift will have enough staff to not have more than 4 patients per nurse. If it will put the next shift over the 4 patients then the bed coordinator will find some other floor to put the patient on.
  5. by   azcna
    12 patients per nurse! That is extremely unsafe! Whoever told you that you were fortunate to have that ratio was lying. Our nurses have a max of 6 pts with a tech, but it is usually around 4-5.

    State is Arizona, any shift. And we don't even have 6 pts all that frequently.
  6. by   noreenl
    i can remember having half a unit of 30 beds with 2 aides and an extremely competent LPN on many occasions when i worked at a public hospital in NYS for over 10 yrs! that's one of the reasons I finally left!
    Those of us the unwilling led by the unknowing have done so much for so long that now we can do anything with nothing" should NEVER APPLY TO NURSING BUT IT TOO OFTEN DOES!!!!
  7. by   delvenia
    my unit is 5 to 6 patients with a six patient max. however, there was one day that we had to split pods for half a shift until they could get a resource nurse in because two nurses called out. we had 7 pateints each that day and a Care Partner/Tech. It was horrible!!!!
  8. by   RN813
    That is bull!
    4 patients 95% of the time, with an occasional 5th.
    2 techs for 41 patients
    free charge unless short
    Day shift
  9. by   Grow_a_Soul
    I worked on a 16 bed floor and so on the worst of bad nights it would be me (RN) and an LPN with 8 each and me doing all IV pushes. Those were very dark nights. What we would aim for and like to be typical in those days was 3 nurses and 2 techs for 16. The one extra would go to LPN and the RN would of course get higher acuity. These were still hard nights many times but 5 is definitely better than 8 and 12 is ridiculous unless its LTC and then that would be wonderful.
  10. by   txspadequeenRN
    i have had 6 patients for the last 2 days and it is killing me...they are complicated, multiple iv, have pain issues and call light ride.....for me there is a definite difference between 5 and 6 patients .... the tech's i have had the last 2 days are worthless so the patients depend on me for everything....of course i cant do everything for all 6 so then i get to make time to find the tech.... then i get to argue with her....i wont even start commenting about the families...... for me my max number is 5 patients and these people would get a lot better care if i had just 4 patients.....when i work my other job at the inpatient hospice unit i have max 3 patients....
  11. by   Grow_a_Soul
    I feel really taken advantage of now that I see most nurses in med-surg are having a better patient load than I had. That is why I got out of it. But there I times when I really miss it. I know....Im crazy.
  12. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    [FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"]First of all, let me tell you about my fresh-out-of-school job.

    It wasn't even MedSurg, it was straight-up tele (Cardiac Stepdown, if you will). On days, 6:1, on nights, 9:1! Uh, yeah...I didn't stay there too long!

    My next job, my favorite one, the one I had for the longest, MedSurg...days, 3:1 - 6:1 (weirdly set up floor) plus floating charge. Nights, 7:1 - 8:1 (the charge nurse took an assignment of two patients).

    The one I have now (Medical), 5:1 on days, floating charge, 5:1 - 6:1 on nights, charge RN has full assignment.
  13. by   Queenofthekeys
    1. Normally 5 patients/RN, occasionally 6 with the charge nurse taking anywhere between 1 and 5 patients but we normally have to do primary cares because we dont get an aide or if we are lucky we have one, and that isn't always for the entire shift either!

    2. I work 12 hour nocs, 7p-7a

    3. WI

    4. Every night that is our situation, but when I'm charge and am in staffing with our nursing supp, i usually have a pretty big mouth and demand the staff we call for or need.
  14. by   Ace587RN
    max i got was 7. I work days but eventually going to nights. I'm from Florida
  15. by   joannedianeubalubao
    for me the maximum number of patients per is 4 so that they have an enought attention to their patient