Call coverage for overflow patients

Specialties Operating Room


Our hospital is mandating that the PACU nurse on call will be called in if there are overflow house patients due to a shortage of empty beds. (mainly at night). The patients would be staying in PACU until a bed was available. And it would be just the one RN--no one would be sitting with her. Are there other PACU's doing this? If so, how are you handling it? We are not happy about this, especially the part about being alone. Some of these patients could be on telemetry.

Our PACU nurses are experinencing something similar. ICU beds have been closed do to a shortage of critical care nurses. We are still doing the same number of OR cases requiring ICU post-op as before. Now the patients stay in PACU until a bed opens up. If it has been overnight, some pt.'s have even been dismissed from our unit the next day.

We have no real solution. Recently, we informed our manager that we would not work past 16-18 hrs. They are trying to work with us in attempting to find relief staff. Some days it works, other days it doesn't. If we find a better way, I'll let you know. Also, we do always have 2 RN's on in this situtation. We are very isolated & it would take too long to try & get help if there were just one person on duty.

[This message has been edited by Gigi Dues (edited 02-12-99).]

Since this was problem was listed a while ago I am wondering if there has been some answer; I know that the problem continues in our facility. NEVER be in the PACU by yourself--this is against ASPAN standards who have prepared a position statement on ICU overflow patients in the PACU ( designed specifically for this purpose (and your protection) It does not have to be a registered nurse, but, there must be a second person. You should "arm" yourself with the statement and give it to administration and document the fact that they have been made aware--if it continues; there are reporting agencies exactly for this purpose as well. Don't allow them to utilize you as an answer to their staffing problem! Good Luck!

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