We have separate units for L&D, antepartum, postpartum and NICU. We also have an observation nursery in the NICU for kiddos who need a little help transitioning. As soon as they are doing better, they come to postpartum.
On our postpartum unit, most babies room in during the day and many do at night also. But we will gladly take babies to the nursery for any mom that asks. That includes new sections on a PCA, moms with complications, and those who are just plain exhausted. We staff our nursery with a specially trained PCA and we nurses help out, too. We can do some of our charting in the nursery so that someone is always in there if there are babies.
Last night I encouraged a mom who was going home to other kids to let me take her wee one to the nursery so she could get a three-hour stretch of sleep instead of the fifteen minute catnaps she'd been getting by on. I promised we'd bring the baby back for breastfeeding and we did. She was really thankful and felt a lot better.
We might do a social service consult if a mom leaves her baby in the nursery most of the time without a medical reason, but that doesn't happen too often.
I do think it's extremely unsafe to have a baby at the nurse's station when the only nurse watching it may be called away. Not just for security purposes but because it doesn't take much for a newborn to spit up and start gagging. Even just a couple of minutes unattended is too long.
We are fortunate that our unit is big enough to allow decent staffing and we also have cross-trained HUC/PCAs who care for babies. I realize this isn't always the case in smaller facilities, but it seems like staffing at least a PCA to help with babies would be cheaper than one bad outcome resulting from unsafe situations.