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How is the floor/hospital census lately?


Specializes in Telemetry, Oncology, Progressive Care. Has 4 years experience.

I work in a medium to large size community hospital and we are literally busting at the seams. Putting patients in areas where we don't typically house patients. Opening up units that were previously closed. There are no beds in the ICU.

My hospital is offering incentives for staff to work extra shifts and are actually offering double what they normally offer. It is insane. I have been doing nursing for almost 7 years and have never seen anything like this. I have also worked at 5 different hospitals and was actually at my current hospital last holiday season and it was not like this.

Earlier this year we were closing units because there was not enough patients and we were being told not to come in due to a lack of patients. Sometimes this happened 2-3 times a pay period. We did a restructuring of staff as well because we thought that things were changing and there would be less inpatients.

I'm just wondering how things are throughout the US and why this is happening. I thought maybe because it is near the end of the year and people have deductibles they want to use but the admitting dx of my patients does not support that. Only one pt had surgery that you could say was elective.

BTW I work on a cardiac unit (tele/step down).

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

In my region of the country an increase in admissions during the winter is typical: flu, pneumonia, injuries from falls and accidents, etc. Holidays also bring an increase in psychiatric and substance-abuse related admissions. And, I have to say it, an increase in staff absences because of holiday activities can lead to closure of beds, increasing census in other better-staffed units.

Edited by Altra

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

We're a tertiary care center that only takes patients from referrals. We don't have an ER. We constantly have a waiting list for patients to be transferred to us from other hospitals for specialized care. Due to this, we never very rarely have empty beds. We occasionally have patients in clinics for extended time waiting for a bed to be available.

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

We had 4 beds left in our hospital the other day when I left...all ICU. Tis the season for respiratory cases!

Insurance plan year ending.

People prefer not to take time off work for needed medical care - so they do it just before and during holidays and use that time to recoup. I don't know anybody in the corporate world who takes vacation/sickdays. Taking vacation/sickdays in the corp. world puts you at risk for layoff in this economy.

People know that next years insurance benes changes will cause increase in out of pocket costs - want to get things checked now, and if that requires tx, then do it this plan year.

Hospitals have cut back on nursing staff and are not prepared for anything.

We have been VERY full lately. A lot of people are doing elective surgeries this time of year to use up their deductible and we have a big flu outbreak right now, too. Nice to have them all mixed together, fresh post op and flu. Way to go bed department!

tokmom, BSN, RN

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

Ours is unaturally low at this time. It doesn't help that two surgeons are out on medical leave themselves. I heard our flu season hasn't hit yet. I'm sure in a month or so we will be turning people away and every room will be isolation!


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

We are a large public access hospital in the southeast. We are busting at the seams. No icu, tele or step down beds. Limited med/ surg. Flu and respiratory complaints.


Has 4 years experience.

People at my hospital are getting flexed, put on call, or straight cancelled. 45 bed ICU/Stepdown had a total of 14 patients when I left work Saturday. All OT is being denied.

Tis the season for snot and coughing...Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Census full but still they're coming...Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our protective apparel... Fa la la, la la la, la la la la.

So our lungs don't face such peril... Fa la la la la la la la laaaa....

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I work at a specialty rehab hospital. Census is unusually high and has been this way for the past six weeks. However, we're short-staffed because of multiple call-offs combined with employees taking time off during this season.

In past years census has plummeted to bare-bones levels during the holidays. This year seems to be a major exception to past trends.

kool-aide, RN

Specializes in Cardiac. Has 5 years experience.

My hospital is stuffed! Full of resp pts, and LOTS of elective surgeries.

redhead_NURSE98!, ADN, BSN

Specializes in Med/surg, Quality & Risk. Has 10 years experience.

Yep we're busting. It was like this last year too.

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 9 years experience.

I think our is somewhere at "maximum capacity". There were, I believe, over 100 patients in the ER waiting for a room. In end of shift report, we were warned that when our patients were due for discharge, it was possible we'd have a Pt coming from ER before the other pt left and before the room was clean (they'd just have to wait in our hallway, not the ER's). I think recently some med-surg nurses were floating to the ER to be the nurses for med-surg level pts waiting for a room. On a positive note, the ER seems to be doing more computer charting, so some of the transfers have some (or most) of the "paperwork" done!

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

We were dead around Thanksgiving - I got called off on Thanksgiving - but have been bursting ever since. Our actual number of burns is fairly low, although for what they lack in quantity they do make up for in severity, probably due to the unusually warm weather here. We're also the pediatric overflow unit -- with it being RSV season, the children's hospital up the road often goes on diversion, filling up our small-ish picu/peds units and so we get the overflow. I think we had four or five RSV admits in one night, and we're a 15 bed unit.

It usually quiets down around Christmas, less elective surgeries and people putting off that stroke/heart attack until after family is gone.

~PedsRN~, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

I work in a large children's hospital and we are SLAMMED. We often satellite.


Has 2 years experience.

I work in the ICU and we're full. Not only are we full, but we've had a lot of deaths and just really really sick people lately. Before that Oct-Nov we were actually in a bit of a lull. I miss those days.


Specializes in LTC, med/surg, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

No longer working at facility but week I left we were mostly full. One night this month we git 8 admissions which filled us on our specific floor. Medical is always hopping...lots of respiratory stuff and everything in between.