Our PHF (psych health facility) is locked. Our Pts are there because they were placed on a hold (5250, 5150, 5270) due to being a danger to themselves or others, for the most part.
Your ratios sound almost reasonable, EXCEPT for the fact that you also mentioned that your clients need assistance with their ADLs. We do not accept Pts who aren't "medically cleared" to be independent.
I keep focusing on acuity and ratios because in my experience as an aide and a nurse, high ratios can make a job almost impossible to a person who really wants to do a good job. And a higher acuity should demand lower ratios.
If it were me, I'd adopt the persona of nurses whose style and ethics or systems work for them. What phrases do they use when techs get too involved in nurses duties?
I totally agree with your statement about needing to keep allies for safety reasons, but also needing to have the aides respect you!! I deal with this issue by treading lightly for this most part. I need the aides to have my back.
On our short term unit, and the long term, the actual nurses med room is separate and there a sign posted and company policy says no non licensed staff allowed. If you keep important docs in an area like that, they won't be able to nosey through it.
Try something like, "I understand you want me to do XYZ, but I need to take care of this 1st" do not explain what "this" that your doing is. You are supposed to use your nursing judgement to prioritize tasks. If you have used clinical judgement and have decided that a certain task is more important to do first than the other, then the only people you answer to are your boss and your board of nursing. Everything you do should be justifiable. But you don't have to justify yourself to aides.
Oh, when you say "I know you want me to do XYZ" make sure you actually state what it is they asked, because that validates their concern, let's then know you heard them.
One more trick with aides---when they come to you and tell you what, respond back by telling them what to do that's within their scope to address the issue. IE- if an aide wants me to give a PRN right now but I am already drawing up a med in a syringe for someone else, I'd ask what behavior is the client having, and as long as it's truly not emergent, I'd tell tell the aide to prompt the client to come to the dining room or the common area where she can be supervised.
Or I'd tell the aide, "no. " I'm pretty sure I've done that, lol. Or I've said, a non committal "mmmm" when they tell me what to do.