Low Census-what's up?!

  1. Something odd is going on at my hospital. I work on a (formerly busy) med/surge floor but lately they are cancelling nurses and putting them on call left and right. We usually work 4 12 hour shifts per week but lately many of us are lucky to get 2 nights per week. Our census is eerily low. This time last year we were packed, all rooms full and it usually doesn't slow down until Spring. So I feel like something ominous is approaching. Could this be from the new healthcare? I know that the doctor that is the main driving admitter to our hospital is always complaining about the new healthcare and he has really dropped back on admitting. This is killing the nursing staff financially-I am very worried! Anyone else with the same at their hospital?
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    About mom35

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 500; Likes: 176
    Student at El Centro Started Jan 08 I have 36 credits, I took 5 classes during the summer and earned all A's! Applying for RN now and will have results in April; from US


  3. by   ellaballet
    I work in a pulmonary LTACH and our census is so low...Normally it dips in the summertime and then picks up in the fall, usually around now is crazy with flu season approaching..I've been canceled 3 times in the past month.
  4. by   MunoRN
    I'll bite, why do you think the ACA is dropping your census?
  5. by   ChristineN
    My hospital is busier than ever. We routinely have to turn away transfers cause we don't have a bed for them and we also board it's in the ER during the week cause we run out of beds in the hospital. I do not see a end to this trend anytime soon. In fact, I anticipate business picking up even more thanks to the ACA
  6. by   slicksGIRL
    I feel you! Our census is low as well.. They've been canceling nurses cus we are overstaffed. I heard that it usually gets like this during the holidays. It is for my unit at least.
  7. by   mom35
    I don't know that it is the ACA. I just don't know why when we are usually packed this time of year, we are down in the teens as opposed to over 40. The other closest hospital is three hours away, I don't think we have much competition. I am not blaming ACA, I am just trying to figure out what might be going on. I guess I need to hurry and relocate back home to the big city, I will be leaving in February anyway!
  8. by   gigglestarsRN
    I have noticed the same thing in my floor. This time last year we were fully packed and extra shifts could be picked up with ease. None we have half our unit regularly closed and have staff floated to other units daily. None of us can figure it out. I, too, have wondered if the ACA has some folks acting cautiously for fear of not having good coverage for services.
  9. by   xoemmylouox
    The ACA wouldn't be an issue sine the remainder doesn't start until 1/1/14.
  10. by   emtb2rn
    We're packed. And not sure how low census is due to ACA.
  11. by   DoeRN
    If anything the ACA will increase the census because more people will have insurance. And it doesn't begin officially until next year. It could be a number of things as to why the census is low.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  12. by   HouTx
    Low volumes are everywhere. This an unprecedented nation-wide phenomena throughout the US!!! It continues to be a major topic of discussion at national healthcare leadership meetings. The first response is to "flex" staff downward, but this is usually not sustainable over the long term. Organizations with persistent volume decreases are cutting staff at a very rapid rate. Over 42,000 healthcare jobs have been eliminated since January 2013. If this is happening at your organization, be prepared for layoffs.

    There is a lot of speculation that this is tied to ACA, but no one knows for sure. It does seem likely. As ACA is being phased in, many employers have cut or eliminated company-sponsored insurance coverage, which would then decrease elective health care activity. But if this is the only reason, there would also be a concurrent increase in ED visits & this is not happening.... so no one has any definitive answers.

    ACA will NOT increase acute care census. It will increase primary care access and affordability - which would decrease acute care census. Any increase in jobs will be in non-acute areas. Sad to say but in terms of job availability for RNs, these may soon be "the good old days".
  13. by   not.done.yet
    I am in the DFW area as well and we are having VERY low census. It is interesting, as we just hired a ton of people. Not losing primary hours, but we have gone from "work all the overtime you want" to those who do work it being the first pushed back or dropped off the schedule. We have often, however, seen census drop during the holidays, only to pick up the first week of January and go strong through spring and summer.
  14. by   JBudd
    We've gone from boarding ED pts for 12-24 hours, to almost no pts at night; some of our critical care beds are closed, as well as some Medsurg. While its nice not to have to do so many admits in the ED, plenty of nurses are getting sent home.