ICU nurses, Is 3:1 patient to nurse ratio a common occurence or am I just tripping? - page 3

by Scrubs911

32,883 Views | 126 Comments

*I posted this in the new grads section but I also want to hear from the experienced nurses* Hi. I'm a relatively new nurse in a general ICU (we get a variety of patients). Considering the shortage of jobs for new nurses, I'm... Read More


  1. 0
    In my unit vents are 1:1. If census is low then HDU patients (stable, non-vented) are 1:1, if we're busy, one nurse will take two HDU patients, no more. Most other ICUs in the area are similar.
  2. 0
    Quote from imaginations
    In my unit vents are 1:1. If census is low then HDU patients (stable, non-vented) are 1:1, if we're busy, one nurse will take two HDU patients, no more. Most other ICUs in the area are similar.
    What is HDU?
  3. 0
    Quote from apocatastasis
    We are supposed to be 1:1 or 1:2 in our ICU but more and more are 1:3 because our staff retention rates are terrible and nurses are leaving right and left... bad management... there was uproar in the unit when it was mentioned we may go to a 1:3 ratio even in non-extraordinary circumstances. In my opinion, it's just not safe.

    One of the other new nurses, fresh off a mere 3-4 months of orientation, got tripled... with 3 "stable patients." One was septic and crashed. The other went into respiratory failure and had to be intubated. And my friend cried because of how stressful it was. Not a great way to keep your staff, to put it mildly. You can never predict what an ICU patient is going to do, even if they're bound for transfer. We're all just waiting for a sentinel event from an overworked, tripled nurse...
    *** I don't understand why you and the nurses in your unit accept report on that 3rd patient? SHort of a huge emergency like a devistating snow storm or another 9/11 I won't take 3, even when I am sure I can handel it I don't want to set a precedence.
    That said now that I have escaped the Magnet hospital treadmill and got a job in a nice non Magnet union hospital it isn't an issue.
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    Quote from sapphire18
    What is HDU?
    High dependency. Essentially a non-ventilated, stable patient that requires ICU monitoring/has the potential to go down hill
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    Lately, it's being done more and more in our unit because they pull out staff to staff the other Icu. Just the other night, they took 2 of our RNs which caused our unit to work short. 3 Rns were tripled and our charge nurse had to take patients. We were told by management that We will have our RNs floated to help the other Icu out even if it means we have to work tripled😁 I think every person in our unit wishes there was someone/somewhere we can voice our concerns to. It's just not safe to have 3 especially if they are still on pressors or still intubated.
    But, we need our jobs, sooo....
  6. 1
    I work in an icu where the acuity is ridiculously high. I was doubled with one unstable patients and received a third critical patient. I have around a year of experience and was completely swamped and overwhelmed.1:3 is now the norm on my floor when really some of our pts require one to one care. Not being able to effectively manage the patient increases length of stay. Needless to say, I left in tears. You're definitely not alone.
    shakanurse likes this.
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    Saturday, myself and a traveler were assigned 3 pts in the MICU. Our unit can not refuse to accept new admit's for ANY reason.
    The unit is bleeding experienced nurses. Management goal of 80% new hires/20% experienced nurses in every unit every floor. So many errors I can't get my head around them, and management looks the other way.
    -pt on a paralytic, pain medication gtt, sedation gtt new RN titrating down pain and sedation gtt's using FLACC score
    -same nurse gave 10 ML not units IV push
    list just goes on and on............
    I need to get out too..
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    It' not because experienced nurses aren't out there....they aren't hiring. I know of an experienced ICU nurse who's been looking for 18 months.....she's >55....darn shame....
    Williams75, CrufflerJJ, and PMFB-RN like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from Esme12
    It' not because experienced nurses aren't out there....they aren't hiring. I know of an experienced ICU nurse who's been looking for 18 months.....she's >55....darn shame....
    We NEED them...:/
    PMFB-RN likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from sapphire18
    We NEED them...:/
    Hospitals don't want to pay them. They are at the high end of the pay scale and we have limited use.....were older......good Lord only knows when we will drop dead..... They want about 10 years experience they are relatively low on the lower side of the pay scale and enough expereince tobe useful. Not many of them around.
    PMFB-RN likes this.


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