Where to begin...
I currently work for a small-ish urban hospital in the Special Care Nursery. Our hospital probably does approximately 80-90 births a month. Our SCN has a total capacity of 6 beds. In my three years at this job we can go from having a full nursery to having a zero census in a short amount of time. Anytime our census drops to three or less babies there is often only one nurse staffing the nursery...of course this depends on acuity of the babies. Our core staffing is generally 3 labor and delivery nurses, two postpartum nurses and two SCN nurses. Our SCN nurses are "cross-trained" to work on the postpartum unit, where they care for mom's, babies and GYN surgicals. This, in the past, has really not been a huge problem...however times have changed. Our nursery has been very busy for at least the last six months, and both nurses scheduled for the nursery have been primarily working in the nursery. At the same time our postpartum nurses have been seeing more "high risk" moms with issues such as hypertension, diabetes, postpartum hemorrhages, even seizures. As we approach our historically less busy time, many of my fellow SCN nurses and myself are nervous realizing we are going to be going back to deal with adults again soon.
I guess my question in all this is how does your hospital handle things when census drops? Are you expected to staff the postpartum unit and care for adults as well as babies? If you do float out to the floor do you just get a healthy baby assignment?
I'm in the process of receiving responses to a survey I sent out to my co-workers regarding us possibly rallying for baby only assignments anytime we are expected to staff the postpartum unit. I would also like to include responses gathered here as to how other hospitals handle this situation. Any responses would be greatly appreciated. It would also be helpful to have a little background about where you work. Total number of NICU/SCN beds, average monthly deliveries, typical staffing for your unit, etc. The hard part is I would really like to present this information at a meeting we are having on Tuesday, 9/27. I know this isn't a lot of time, however I can always add information I receive after the meeting. I have already attempted to contact most hospitals in our area.
Thank you for any help you can offer!!
P.S. Please forgive any typing errors. I had to use my phone to type this message, and it really likes to change words I'm attempting to type into new and often more interesting words...