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Low NICU census

NICU   (5,219 Views 17 Comments)
by Mimi2RN Mimi2RN (New Member) New Member

Mimi2RN has 27 years experience and works as a RN-Retired.

8,335 Visitors; 1,141 Posts

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About a year ago, we were busy, very busy. Some very sick babies, and many preemies. Now the census is down, and nurses are having to stay home, sometimes missing 2 or more days on a paycheck.

Is it like this everywhere? I know L&D has had slightly less patients. Are we doing better with prenatal care, so we are having less preemies etc.?

I have read that families are deciding to hold off having another child due to the economy, but as many of our patients are Medicare, that has not seemed to be a factor. We have our fair share of teenage moms, with little money and few resources.

So what's it like elsewhere?

Edited by Mimi2RN

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umcRN has 4 years experience.

1 Like; 21,447 Visitors; 867 Posts

Not at my hospital. My nicu is HOPPING! Very sick, high census, nurses from the other units floated there 2 out of their 3 shifts a week. And it's been like this for almost 2 months now, needless to say people are starting to get grumpy!

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Bortaz, RN has 10 years experience and works as a NICU.

5 Likes; 1 Article; 34,986 Visitors; 2,626 Posts

We've been really low census lately. I hate walking through the pedi dept on the way to Nicu and see their assignment board full of pts, knowing we have no babies and I'm probably going to be floated. Ruins my day.

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Gat0rRN has 6 years experience.

1,227 Visitors; 8 Posts

I'm in a hospital with fairly low NICU census too. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but its been happening for about 2 years according to some of the other nurses I work with. (I haven't been at this hospital very long). I think a lot of it depends on the location and how many NICU's are in the area. It seems that areas with more than 1 or 2 NICU's are saturated and can't keep their units full.

It might be a good time to consider getting trained in another area if you're interested and if your manager would allow it. PICU, Peds, or L&D perhaps. I've learned that if anyone is willing to let you cross train you should take it! Not many places are willing to pay for it, so take the experience if you can. Maybe you can work out a deal to train once a pay period on another unit as long as census is low.

Or consider a registry, or per diem, job in the area too. I find that just because my NICU is slow, it doesn't mean others in the area are as well. It's really hit or miss.

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450 Visitors; 1 Post

at my unit we have been extremely busy. we are a 52 bed unit and have had a census of 60+or- a few for well over 6 months. it has been very trying and overwhelming.

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NicuGal has 30 years experience and works as a once a manager, now a staff nurse, preceptor, educ.

21,906 Visitors; 2,743 Posts

We were slow, but we recently picked up again. I like being slow,but only for a small amount of time!

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dawngloves works as a NICU RN.

11,398 Visitors; 2,399 Posts

Our census has been moderate to high. Our acuity has been high. So many micros on vents. In a few weeks we'll be full of feeder/growers!

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Niculove20 works as a NICU RN.

550 Visitors; 10 Posts

Pretty low in my unit too...we are expecting triplets tomorrow, which will put us at 29/42 beds

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Bortaz, RN has 10 years experience and works as a NICU.

5 Likes; 1 Article; 34,986 Visitors; 2,626 Posts

I was canceled tonight, after being off the last two. Last day I worked we had maybe 12 babies (none level 3). They discharged 4 and admitted 2 while I was off. We normally average 18-22 babies.

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Niculove20 works as a NICU RN.

550 Visitors; 10 Posts

Aw man I hate that for you that you've had to be cancelled! Nope that I want babies to be sick, but I'd sure love some admits!

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Bortaz, RN has 10 years experience and works as a NICU.

5 Likes; 1 Article; 34,986 Visitors; 2,626 Posts

Aw man I hate that for you that you've had to be cancelled! Nope that I want babies to be sick, but I'd sure love some admits!

I'm a former workaholic that no longer minds being canceled. But, admitting a few babies wouldn't hurt, because it'd eliminate the chances of being floated to Pedi or PICU. :/

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Niculove20 works as a NICU RN.

550 Visitors; 10 Posts

Ooh, I can see both points there! lol. Not that I would necessarily mind being cancelled, but I would rather have the full pay on my check too! Definitely agree with not having to float...especially now that's flu season!

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