Curious to know...

  1. Although I am pre-nursing I can't help but think about my future as a nurse. I am thinking that I want to go into critical care nursing. But the other day I was talking to someone about it and they were telling me that the nurse/patient ratio is very high! I was a little stunned because I was thinking the patient ratio would be smaller?? Anyways she went on to say that all those patients are totally your responsibility--you have to bathe, etc. with no help. She also said that if I was on a Med-Surg floor I could maybe grab someone to help me if I needed it,but that wouldn't happen in a critical care unit.
    So does this sound accurate??? So I am a little confused. just wondering if anyone works in critical care and can maybe share their experiences???
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    About Spoiled1

    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 462; Likes: 70
    RN; from NC , US
    Specialty: Step-down ICU


  3. by   ERNurse752
    No. It just totally depends on where you work.

    ICUs have smaller ratios because of the high acuity of the patients. 1:1 or 1:2, sometimes 1:3 is the norm for most.

    I did ICU when I was in school and and we always had help with bathing and turning. Lots of times we would team up and take turns with each others' patients.

    Sounds like this person had an exceptionally bad experience, or they haven't worked ICU at all!
  4. by   *PICURN*
    I actually haven't started working in critical care yet, but I can answer some of your ?'s....

    1. The nurse patient ratio is one nurse to one patient, you will have 2 patients MAX

    2. The patients are your SOLE responsibility whether you work med-surg OR critical care. Just b/c you have a nurse's aide in med-surg, you are STILL responsible for the bath. The nurse's aides are supposed to do that, however in the end if it doesn't get done it is still your responsibility. At the hospital I work for, the ICU's do have nurse's aides that do the baths w/the assist of the RN. Personally, I would prefer to work w/o a nurse's aide b/c I would rather take my own vitals, take my own intake/outputs on the patient. Not that I don't trust a nurse's aide, but I would rather do it myself....maybe the nurse's aide will be too busy and forget to report a low BP, or maybe she won't catch the low respirations (funny how everyone's respirations are 20...that always bugged me)

    3. I have heard that RN's are more helpful in the ICU (and I have seen it) than on the floor. On the floor you will have 5-6 or more patients will everyone else. Not to say that in the ICU you will be less busy (b/c you will probably be more busy) but everyone is in the same room!!!! All your RN's are literally sitting/standing right next to you! I have heard that ICU nurses have a closer bond than floor nurses, so I would think that you would get MORE help in an ICU setting (just my opinion!)

    Hope that helps!
  5. by   Spoiled1
    Thanks guys for your input. I feel so much better now!! Now I see this person has NO idea what they are talking about. Again thanks.
  6. by   LilRedRN1973
    I've been working in the ICU at a large teaching hospital for over a year now. I started as a Critical Care Tech, then moved up to Apprentice Nurse. Only once have I seen a patient/nurse ratio 1:3; it's always 1:2 or sometimes, if the patient is extremely ill, it's 1:1. We do have a tech who helps with patient turns and fills up our supplies, etc. but to be honest, the RN's all work together to help each other. I think the teamwork in my unit is's one reason I'm excited to be staying on as an RN after I graduate. I have done clinicals in just about every other part of the hospital and the nurses in our ICU definitely work together more than any other floor or unit I've seen.

    I will say this....when they had to give a few nurses 3 patients, boy did they scramble!! LOL. The nurses there are not used to taking 3 patients and it shows with nurses who haven't worked a med-surg floor before. The organization skills needed in the ICU are completely different than those on a regular floor. I have a lot of respect for med-surg nurses because they have amazing time management skills and are super organized for the most part. I'm always in awe of how they manage to care for as many as 8 or 9 patients and do a pretty damn good job at it (well, most..not all).

    I prefer the ICU because I like being responsible for total patient care. I don't want to rely on someone else to give baths, take vitals, etc. I enjoy the time I spend with my patients, doing baths. It's one of the things that drew me to the ICU in the first place.

  7. by   50 Cent
    my advice: dont work at a place where the assignments are more than 1:2 (1:3 is crazy!) as a new grad, ensure that you have a lengthy orientation period with a good preceptor. the bath, usually, is the least of your worries in the ICU.