How much support staff?

  1. I posted this questionon the critical care board but it's not getting much response so I thought I'd bring it here.

    I know some of you work in critical care units. Do you have any support staff such as critical care techs or nursing assistants? It's often difficult to find an extra pair of hands to help with basic patient care such as turning, bathing, feeding/trays, etc. Just wondering what's common to most critical care units.
  2. Visit wonderbee profile page

    About wonderbee

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 2,355; Likes: 620
    Nurse, of course
    Specialty: critical care; community health; psych

    4 Comments

  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Our unit has two nursing assistants scheduled on days and one on nights (12 hour shifts). But they are usually not involved in patient care in any way. I'm not sure where this came from, but it seems like they've been told they aren't to do anything along the lines of helping with turns, cleaning up incontinent patients, holding intubated and agitated patients' heads while the RN gets drugs, or helping with dressing changes, xrays, linen changes or any of a dozen other things that would be within their scope of practice. The conventional wisdom in our unit is that our patients are "all babies" so we don't need extra hands. But our patients are NOT all babies; many of them have open sternums, multiple central lines, ETTs, ECMO cannulae, chest tubes, intraventricular monitoring, halo traction, you- name-it, etc, and we're so into the VAP prevention protocol that we're told not to lower the head of the bed for any reason, so diaper changes are done on seated patients... It's a joke. Our musculoskeletal injury rate is climbing and our pressure-related injuries are too. But our management doesn't see the forest for the trees. I'm in total sympathy with you.
  4. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from RNKittyKat
    I posted this questionon the critical care board but it's not getting much response so I thought I'd bring it here.

    I know some of you work in critical care units. Do you have any support staff such as critical care techs or nursing assistants? It's often difficult to find an extra pair of hands to help with basic patient care such as turning, bathing, feeding/trays, etc. Just wondering what's common to most critical care units.
    I work in MICU and the lack of support staff is ridiculous. Much of the time we don't even have a unit clerk - we have to share one with another floor. So throw phone answering, calling yourself for stat EKG, respiratory, or xrays needed. Sometimes there is one nursing assistant, but never on my shift. We have to do all the blood draws AND TAKE THEM TO THE LAB OURSELF!

    About half of the nurses on my unit have back injuries. A good percentage of the patients are vented and sedated so we are dealing with 200+ lbs of dead weight to turn. I have to find another RN without a back injury to help me reposition or clean up the bed. Thank God for Flexiseals :wink2: I try to partner up with another nurse on my shift to be "poop buddies", meaning I will help her with all cleanups and repositioning as long as she will help me.
  5. by   GeminiTwinRN
    I work on ICU and am support staff for now while in school until graduation in Dec. We have 18 beds and there are usually 3 of us staff. One of us works as aide, one as monitor tech, and one as secretary.. this is during the DAY shift only.

    At night, there are 2 support staff, one at the monitors who does orders, etc. and one aide.

    IMO, having no support is ridiculous! Often when there is a lull at the secretary position, that person will also do aide work. Obviously the monitor tech can't help out with that stuff.
  6. by   manna
    We have 6 beds that are staffed by 2 RN's. That's it. No aides, clerks, whatever. We REALLY have to be able to rely on our partners, and sometimes we have to pull from the adjacent medical floor for help turning a heavy patient, etc. We also man the telemetry monitors ourselves.

    We also don't have respiratory therapists in our unit... not sure about on dayshift (I work nights), but in the evenings we have 2 therapists for the whole hospital (96 beds)! There is also no PT, dietary, pharmacist, etc in staff on nights.

close