nurse patient ratio

  1. I'm currently an RN in the UK and have mainly done surgical nursing since qualifying in 1993. We are seriously considering a move to Australia but I can't seem to find any info on the nurse patient ratio for a general surgical ward.
    Am I just dreaming thinking that it might be better working in Australia than in the UK?? I enjoy nursing a lot but at the moment i'm feeling very disheartened. There is never more than 2 trained staff on a ward of 30 patients and equipment/supplies are either faulty or not available....simple things like dressing packs and catheter bags!!!
    Any advice about generally nursing in Australia would be gratefully received.
    Thank you in advance,

    Julie x
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    About joolsc

    Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 11


  3. by   jax
    I can only tell you of my experience. I work in a large public hospital in an orthopaedic unit(mostly trauma, some elective). 2 nurses ( either 2 RNs or 1RN and 1 medication endorsed EN) for 8 patients. We do total patient care and in the most part it's very workable. I still remember the days when it was 1:8. My unit does team nursing so there is a workable skill mix. I suspect the public hospitals have better rations than the private.

    Good Luck
  4. by   ANnot4me
    I have not worked on the wards in Australia, only ED. But I can tell you without a doubt that Australia will be better. I have worked with many a UK nurse that have told me what a nightmare it is in the UK and how much better it is in Oz. Victoria has ratios established by law and you may find these by visiting the site of their nursing board
  5. by   talaxandra
    Thus far Victoria is the only state that has mandated ratios, which apply only to public hospitals. The ratios depend on the category of hospital - level 1 (major) hospitals have a 1:4 ratio on AM and PM shifts (plus a resource nurse, plus a Unit Manager on the AM), 1:8 overnight (including a resource nurse) on the wards. ICU, NICU, labour suite, OR and ED have different numbers but I can't remember precisely how they're calculated.

    The greatest ratio you'll find - 1:6 on an AM plus in-charge, 1:7 on a PM plus in-charge, 1:15 on nights - is in small and non-acute hospitals.

    The ratios are adhered to pretty strictly - admission of patients above the ratios does happen in my hospital on occasion, but only with agreement of the ward staff and strictly as a stopgap measure. We've never gone more than one patient over (thirty-two bed ward - eight staff plus resource).

    Like jax, where I work the staff are a mixture of division one nurses and (a, significantly as a minority), medication endorsed division twos.