Nursing Ratios in CA

by msmoe16 msmoe16 Member

I'm about to start travel nursing and my first contract will most likely be in California. I'm currently a psych nurse in a state hospital in Texas and I am usually the only RN on my unit with 32 to 40 patients under my care. I had heard California had nursing ratio laws and when I looked it up, I was amazed to see it say there is 1:6 ratio for psych. That is dramatically different than what I am exposed to here. Is this ratio how it really is for psych or is this more of a recommendation that is never actually met? Can any California nurses confirm?



Specializes in Geriatric-Psych, Med/surg. 21 Posts

Hello there. I am CA nurse working on the psych unit at my hospital. I can confirm that the ratio is 1:6. As far as I know all of our mandated ratios are strictly followed.

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

Yes, our ratio is 1:6, but my hospital staffs even better than that most of the time. I usually have 3-4 patients ...sometimes less. We always have a free charge to cover breaks, too- just for our unit. Our unit holds a max of 16 patients (I think). Most are walkie talkies, but we occasionally get total cares. We only have a CNA about 2-3 days a week, and they get pulled quickly if the medical floors are short. But even with no CNA, it's very manageable. Once night we even had more nurses than we did patients. It's way different from Texas, for sure!! I'm from Texas, too.



16 Posts

That's incredible! I'm far more excited for my contract now. I work at a state hospital so I think that contributes to the large patient load. Most of the contracts I'm seeing seem to be for state psych hospitals in California as well. Hopefully they have the same ratios. The community hospital in San Bernadino seems especially needy for RN's so I will probably end up there. Thanks for the info!