Nurses: Staffing levels are dangerously low - page 2

When Cathy Caruso went back to nursing in 2001 after a 10-year hiatus spent raising her kids, it was clear to her things had changed for the worse. As a nurse at MetroWest Medical Center in... Read More

  1. by   azhiker96
    This is a big reason why I am going into PACU. Two patients per nurse and techs to help also. Vented patients are one on one.
  2. by   LPN1974
    Quote from nurseholly421
    hello my name is holly and im an lvn workin in a nursing home in texas. i take care of 40 to 60 pts depending on staffing. i have also been debating on whether or not i want to remain a nurse. i love what i do with all my heart but the patient to nurse ratio is sooooo bad that it scares me that im going to lose my license anyways for not being able to give proper care to all of upsets me greatly to go into work and am busting my butt to do all i can do knowing that alot of things are still being missed dt not enough time and too many pts.i was also wondering if there are any government laws regulating patient nurse ratio or if it varies from state to appreciate any comments thanks

    I know, too, what you're saying. I've worked nursing homes before and the nurse to patient ratio is really bad.
    I also had around 40 to 45 patients to take care of on the night shift, 7p to 7a.
    Sick people in nursing homes don't go to the hospitals much anymore. If they can be treated in the nursing home they stay there.
    I work in developmental disabilities now, and take care of on an average about 40 to 60 people depending on staffing. Even with that amount of patients this job is not as hard as an actual nursing home. The difficulty level is lower than an actual nursing home.
    It's work, believe me, but I won't ever go back to an actual nursing home.
    A nursing home is a good place to lose your license.
    Last edit by LPN1974 on Jul 22, '06
  3. by   QUEENIE17
    Here is a scary story. Three RN's in new ICU that is understaffed. Each RN had 4 patients and this was the night shift??
  4. by   RGN1
    In the UK NHS on one shift I had 16 acute medical patients along with 1 adaptation student and an auxilliary (UAP to you guys). 6 patients were doubly incontinent, 1 had a CVP on hourly readings & 2 had severe dementia. Bear in mind that RNs in the UK also have to serve out meals, make beds, do washes etc as well as meds, dressing, obs it was a nightmare.

    I got a job in the private sector where we have a 1:5 ratio which is enough -especially taking into account that we pretty much still do everything - except at least now I don't actually have to prepare & serve out the food or clean the bed & locker area, or make the beds if the patient has been discharged (I do if the patient is staying in mind you!)

    One day - oh no I just saw a pig fly past the window - the powers that be may just make a correlation between patient numbers & good, safe, effective care! However, I think they are just too darn stupid & it'll take a law suit where their negligence can be proven to do it.
  5. by   Dorena Cox
    I wonder how many laws are being broken according to JACO?.We would probably keep Nurses if lisences were not being pulled because of neglect from companies with financiaql probelms. Who do we contact as our leasons?
  6. by   debbyed
    gets a little scary in the er at times. i work 7p - 7a we have 1 emergent bed {code/trauma room), we have 25 major care beds, 3 psych holding beds, 1 seclusion room, and 8 rapid care beds (itold them not to name it that)

    at 7 pm i am supposed to have 12 staff rn's broken down as so.
    charge nurse has whole er as her assignment (not counted in numbers)
    1rn - quick look trige
    1rn - full triage
    1 rn - rooms 1 - 4
    1 rn- rooms 5 - 8
    1 rn - rooms 9-11 +17
    1 rn for obs which has rooms 12 - 16 this is where we usually hold admission. it was supposed to be part of the er
    1 rn - rooms 18 - 21
    1 rn rooms 22-25
    1 rn for code room and psych
    2 rn's for rapic care - 8 beds with 2 pa's and 1 peditrician
    1 rn to float, help in one-to-one situations, breaks etc.

    i have 5 ert's. our ert's are monitor trained and iv certified. we have physician approved protocols the triage nurse initiates and the ert's start them out front in a small private room where an ekg and bloodwork can be obtained. the patient may also go to xray, ct scan or ultrasound. and then be returned to the waiting room. patients are brought to the back in order of their medical and psychilogical issues. results are frequently checked and patients moved in line with those results. it's not perfect but it is better.

    we also have 3 acc clerks that put in orders, make all necessary calls, copy charts, answer phones etc.

    so far we have been lucky in that we routinely draw in 2 new grads each semester and we have been getting excellent nurses from the phillipines. we get a few a year. we could not however run the er without a steady core of agency and travelers. we've worked with these perple so long they seem like family.

    so every thing above is the perfect word, and there are days that the unit is actually staffed.....and than there is tomorrow night, we've offered staff doubletime..i have 5 rn holes at 2300, it gets worse after 2300 when i go down to 7 nurses, i still have 4 holes.

    but we survive because we have seen it worse and we have seen it better and so far better has a slight lead.

    now if we could just find a way to get rid of press gainies scores i'd be the happest nurse you ever saw.
  7. by   PeachPie
    I LOVE (HEAVY SARCASM) how facilities slash costs at our expense: not hiring new people till the beginning of a new fiscal year despite horrible understaffing, so that they can look like they saved money and get bonuses and awards, which go to fountains and memorial statues and other pretty but useless crap rather than the workers.
  8. by   Little Panda RN
    I know that most of you seasoned nurses will laugh at what I have to say. During my practicum I was working on an ortho floor with five patients. Now I know to most of you this seems like nothing, but to me a student it was terrible. All total assisst, new joints, one with an ilieostomy that I had to burp three times that day because the family did not want too, one with fever, possible DVT and the list goes on. I ran from room to room for the whole shift trying to make sure I had given the right meds, done the right treatments, implemented the right orders on the right patients. To me it was horrible, I cried on my way home because I was exhausted and so mentally fatigued. I told myself right there and then that I was never going to work hospital. There are even times that the nurses have seven patients. I feel this to be unsafe and did not want to be part of it. Maybe I need to have more confidence, but the whole hospital scene scares me.
  9. by   UnchainedFever
    [quote=brian]When Cathy Caruso went back to nursing in 2001 after a 10-year hiatus spent raising her kids, it was clear to her things had changed for the worse.
    As a nurse at MetroWest Medical Center in Natick, Caruso said, she routinely had to care for seven patients at a time, a level many nurses consider unsafe. Caruso resigned within a year to take a lower-paying job as an elementary school health teacher.

    "If one person had a bad day or a bad turn, and required my attention, that meant six patients weren't getting my attention," she said. "(I was) very concerned for what wasn't being done for the rest of my patients."
    That's why Caruso and many others want the state to require what they call safe nurse-to-patient ratios. The Massachusetts Nurses Association argues hospitals are understaffed, increasing the risk of patient complications and deaths.
    Om my second day at a new hospital. I did a double shift as the house supervisor. That was to avoid the staff nurses from having 13 patients apiece. They "only" had 10 apiece then..........I would not want my nurse to have that on her back...
  10. by   lossforimagination
    Quote from powel_44

    may i ask what setting are you in? coz here in philippines, if you are assigned on Surgery Ward, 2RNs, 1nursing aide, and 1IW working in a 8-hour shift for a sixty patients (only the two RNs most do the job specifically referring, charting, giving meds, monitoring, giving interventions). And if you were assigned on OB ward is has a 100 or more patients with same number of personnel like in Surgery ward. Nursing care will be very very low. Time is divided into a very little part. That's why nurses here in Philippines are having an overtime in order to suffice the satisfaction of the patients. On the other side, nurses may feel stressed and only having a very low salary. That's why they depart this country in order to find wealth/fortune in another country. Most of nurses here in philippines, their most-likely destination is US.
    Guess what! Foreign nurses coming to the US aren't going to find "wealth/fortune" working as a NURSE....not here, not anywhere on this earth!