I just wondered how many patients other nurses in the uk are expected to look after on a shift? I'm not so much interested in ItU but more wards. I feel our nurse to patient ratio is unsafe, if I have patients I look after 14 on a shift. I work on a busy orthopedic ward, which is trauma, so a high percentage of elderly confused sick patients. Other wards I have worked your usual is 8 patients but when you are short shift (maybe about once a month) you may have a work load like this but this is every shift. There is a reason behind this, & I have on several occassion address the nurse/ patient ratio to the ward manager, where I've been told we used to do it like that but we don't have the staff to have few patients, which I can see that point but rather then covering with band 5 bank staff we are covering the shift with band 2 band staff & not just using band 2 when we cant' get band 5 cover. Back to my reason for posting, today came on shift my ward manager was on so I didn't have to be in charge (I'm one of the ward sisters) I was allocated my 14 patients the other nurse on is newly qualifed, has a pin & this is her 3rd week on the ward & 1st week not being supernumery. The ward manager then says this am that she has a meeting & I have to oversee the other nurse as well as look after my own patients, which 2 of which were sick, plus 2 discharges & 1 admission. One of the patients came back infected so had to be transfered to the infection control ward, which the other nurse didn't know what to do, so rather than have the time to show her what needs to be done, I had to sort it out. So in reality I didn't document on the other 14 patients I was in effect looking after them. This is an awful day, but quite normal for the ward. I love being a sister & have been in post between this ward & my last ward where I was acting for a year now, but I can't cope with the patient ratio, & feel like I'm giving poor care & poor standards of documentation & am worried for my career. These ratios might be the normal in many places & need to know if maybe I can't cope with nursing any more. Also if anyone has advice on how to handle this situation then I'd be grateful.