Staff ratios

  1. I'm getting more and more fed up with having 8-12 patients on a regular basis with the same lame excusses form management that doesn't care. I hear NC,SC, AZ and NV have it better than most with lower staffing ratios, is this true? I am considering moving, all i need is to convince my wife and i'm outta here, also what does everybody get for shift and weekend diff? I work in a union hospital and we get nothing for weekends,and have to work at least 4 weekend days per month, and $1.10 for 3-11, i know just about everyone gets more than that. I'v seen some post with people calling for union representation but don't bother, if you want all the details of our latest 5 year contract which was just passed (i voted against it) let me know and i will post it.

    [This message has been edited by kewlnurse (edited February 08, 2001).]
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    About kewlnurse

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 789; Likes: 21
    RN/Golf Bum/Beer Drinker


  3. by   NCNocRN
    I'm very interested. Your post is very intriguing, if not shocking--it puts into question some widely-held beliefs. I was under the impression that working conditions with the big "U" on your side were better, that nurses were a cohesive group and had a real say in their practice environment... Please post the details of your contract.
  4. by   ClariceS
    At my hospital in TX, we have 5:1 patient:nurse ratio on the surg floor. We have a $4/hr weekend diff and the shift diffs are $2 and up. We also have the 12 hour shifts - 36 hr one week alternating with 48 hr the next. We also have areas that have 8 hr shifts. Plus there are sign on bonuses and moving bonuses.
  5. by   TracyRN
    Don't come to Florida: you have it better where you are now. Sorry to say that the grass isn't always greener...
  6. by   Genista
    There are good and bad unions just like anything else. I happen to work at a union facility that is one of the "good ones." Our ratios are 4-5 pt per Rn day/pm shift, 5-6 for nocs. Shift diff is 8% over base pay for pms, 20% over base pay for nocs. Extra bonus on top of shift diff for overtime or extra shift worked. Hourly wages based on sliding scale for years of experience (more experience = higher wage). Good retirement,medical, dental. Strong support from union if any problems on the job.

    Remember, unions are only as good as the members. Calif. Nurses Assoc. is a great union in our state, and was instrumental in getting our "safe staffing bill" signed into law (implementation of the law to go into effect 2002).Lots of motivated CA RNs are fed up w/ unsafe staffing too. Check out the Calif. Nurses Assoc. website:

    Good luck in your job search.8-12 pts is way too much! You could find better!Take care
  7. by   ShannonB25
    I have gotten some excellent advice from you in the past related to nursing in California (I don't know if you remember or not, but I'll be moving there in August). I was wondering if you could let me in on which California union facility you work for, or at least the ones that you would recommend to a future Californian? I would sincerely appreciate it. I have been trying to figure out which hospital to work for in the Sacramento area (UCD Med Center, Kaiser, Sutter or Mercy) Any info you can provide here or via email would be a tremendous help.

    Thanks so much,

    "The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."-Johan Ruskin
  8. by   Mijourney
    Hi. I just posted under a topic under general discussion in response to a poster whose topic was about an obnoxious, evil coworker. My last post under her topic was off the subject, because in one of her last posts, I thought I read (hopefully she'll clarify this) that she had somewheres about 10 or 12 patients on one of the nights she worked and had EIGHT FS blood sugars with insulin coverage at one time to do. What are your thoughts on this? I can't do it anymore-contend with evil coworkers and work myself to the bone. That's alot of stress. I went into home health so that I would not have to wear my blue tights and red flowing cape on a regular basis.
  9. by   oramar
    Originally posted by Mijourney:
    that she had somewheres about 10 or 12 patients on one of the nights she worked and had EIGHT FS blood sugars with insulin coverage at one time to do. What are your thoughts on this? a regular basis.
    As you know I left accute care a year ago. Our night shift,this is telemetry mind you, usually had 20 to 24 patients. There were always three people, only two of them were RNs. The third was an LPN or an aid. It was not unusual for there to be 10 or 12 accu cheks at 6 am.
  10. by   jrinsc
    I was always told that NY had great wages!

    Do you work med-surg?
    I work in a specialty unit with 4 patients. This is a high acuity level 3-4 is normal.
    The GYN nurses have 6-7 patients each.
    Our family centered care nurses get 3 -4 mom and babies to care for. Nursery nurses can
    have up to 8 newborns.
    The weekend diff is the best for night shift 7/ hr $5.60 or close to that for evenings and 3.00 for day shift weekends.
    We are experincing the same problems as most everywhere complains of... mandatory on call, our benefits have been lowered to paid time off instead of sick pay, vaction pay and holiday pay. If the unit is not busy, we are asked to stay home without pay or use our paid time off. The other gripes we have, consist of floating to other units and having other unit people float to us. Not very many of us feel secure floating to some units, and no one really likes to float.
    I work for a state hosp. in Charleston, SC.
    Hope this helps..

  11. by   kewlnurse
    Originally posted by jrinsc:
    I was always told that NY had great wages!

    Thats a big misunderstanding about NY state. NY City pays great, but a 1 bedroom apartment will cost you $1500/month. Here in western NY, Buffalo, aka Hell as i often call it wages pretty much stink unless your a completly untrained auto worker making $$25/hour to push a broom! I have heard from a brother of a co worker who is from Charleston that 2 of the hospitals had sgns out fron recruiting offering a $8000 bonus, six months rent and $25/hour, is this true? If is is i will be applying for my SC state license real soon. I work on a ortho floor with neuro overflow, but latley admissions has been filling us up with er admits even though we would have 12 - 15 post ops the next day, pretty smart huh. So we have all these fresh hips on flors where the staff knows nothing about dislocation prequations, but mgt doesn't seem to care. Here are some details from our newly approved contract that the union and media raved about: starting wages for RN's $17 and some change, 3-11 diff $1.10, 11-7 diff $1.40. No wekend diff, no bonus for anything, they havn't had an ad in the paper since before thanksgiving. The number 1 thing staff wanted delt with was staffing. This is how the contract reads: magt and the union will study the staffing for 1 year thanover another year implement any needed changes! To me staffing wasn't addressed. Also anybody with more than 15 years in the system doesn't have to float. On our floor there are only 2 nurses who don't have the 15 years so they float 3x a week. Bids onto a new unit are given to seniority first even if a less senior person is more qualified. Health insurance shanged for $1 sopay to $10 for generic, $15 name brand and $25 non-formulary, We have no retirement plan, we cannot refuse any assigment or we will be terminated. I already stated what our staffing ratio is. Add in the fact that we have to pay union dues. We livein the most exspensive state to live in (taxes on a $100,000 house are about $4000)and we makeconsiderably less than anybody. OH yeah almost forgot, a local newspaper interviewed one of the VP's adn one of the questions was what about your staffing? Their answer:Well the nurse just approved a 5 year contract so they must be happy!" I was livid, suprised i didn't have a CVA!
  12. by   OC_An Khe
    If you eat at a restuarant and have a bad expirience, do you never eatin any restuarant again? No, you just don't go to the restuarant you've had a bad expirience with. I can't comment on your contract figures as I don't know what type of increase that represents. However, in this rapidly changing healthcare environment anyone who recommends signing a 5 year contract is not playing with a FULL DECK. vote those leaders out of office. Other alternative is to move on to another facility.
    Unions are only as good as their membership, not only at contract negotiations but during the life of contract. It's up to the members to enforce the contract. Even if it is a weak contract enforce it to its maximum, thats how you gain in the long run.
    Unfortuneately there is no quick solution to the state we find nursing in today. If you are mobile go to the areas that offer you a better practise environment. If enough nurses vote with their feet, those facilities that don't offer reasonable conditions will eventually close.
  13. by   rednightingale
    Originally posted by ClariceS:
    At my hospital in TX, we have 5:1 patient:nurse ratio on the surg floor. We have a $4/hr weekend diff and the shift diffs are $2 and up. We also have the 12 hour shifts - 36 hr one week alternating with 48 hr the next. We also have areas that have 8 hr shifts. Plus there are sign on bonuses and moving bonuses.
  14. by   bestblondRN
    I work in an inner city teaching hospital in Chicago, where RN staffing in the ICU's is still 1:2 and 1:4-6 on the med-surg floors in addition to NAs and unit secretaries. I had previously worked in a facility that was unionized, and patient ratios as well as acuity were considerably higher, so I'm not sure that unionization had any real impact on the staffing--I received a lot of ADOs (assignment despite objection) that I had to answer to, but ultimately saw no results from. On my unit at the previous hospital, I had 23 very complex neuro and ENT patients and ran with a 1:6-7 ratio doing primary care (translates to about 5.2 hours per patient day). Those nurses made great money, but worked like dogs to get it. As the manager of that unit, I went to administration no less than 6 times in a two year period and finally had to leave after beating my head against a wall trying to convince them that the acuity and activity on the unit, not to mention all the falls, patient complaints, etc., warranted at least 6 nurses on 7-3 and 3-11. Where I currently work, the staffing is generally quite good, and most of the staff say that they would never leave for more money in lieu of safe staffing levels (and the salaries aren't bad here either, I might add!). Good luck in your search kewlnurse--there are lots of opportunities out there, and places that still value the role of the RN over the almighty buck.