I have several thoughts on this.
1. Know your Board's definition of patient abandonment. In my state, care must be transferred to a receiving RN. However, dumping a patient in an RN's assigned room, and this certainly is dumping, doesn't constitute a transfer of care. The receiving RN must be given an opportunity to accept/decline care of a new patient assignment. A facility's policy can't lower the standard of abandonment.
Let's say the receiving nurse is at lunch when a patient is dropped off in her room. The transferring nurse doesn't notify the charge nurse or nurse providing break coverage. Three hours later, the floor nurse realizes there's someone in a room she thought was empty. The patient is in the floor with a head injury. The responsibility lies fully with the nurse who dropped and ran without safe communication.
2. Joint Commission states "A handoff is a transfer and acceptance of patient care responsibility achieved through effective communication. It is a real-time process of passing patient-specific information from one caregiver to another." Joint Commission notes that handoff allows for discussion between the sending and receiving nurse; the receiving nurse must have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered to determine if he/she is willing to accept the patient's care.
Rolling a patient into one of my assigned empty rooms doesn't mean I've accepted that patient's care. Providing me with a detailed beside report doesn't mean I've accepted a patient's care. It is my responsibility to determine, based on the report received, whether or not I can safely accept a new patient's care. That is when my duty to the new patient begins. Now, might saying "I don't accept this patient's care at this time" result in employer repercussions (barring Texas Safe Harbor situations)? Maybe. You're going to end up with an angry ED nurse and manager, maybe an angry charge nurse and floor manager. You could be written up; your job could be threatened.
However, I'm more concerned with protecting patient safety (and my license) than I am with protecting my job or people pleasing. The reality is that some patients require care beyond my scope of practice. The reality is that a receiving Med Surg nurse may already have 5 other patients, 2 of whom are going downhill fast, 2 of whom are fresh post-op patients, and 1 of whom has dementia and keeps trying to climb out of bed. Can this nurse safely accept a new patient with respiratory distress and a glucose of 400 from the ED when she knows the patient next door is about to code? No, she can't, and she has a right to say so. Accepting the new patient's care at that point endangers the well-being of her existing patients and the new patient. It means she almost certainly can't meet the standards of practice in the care she is providing.
I was an ER nurse; I understand the importance of opening beds to serve the greatest number of patients. There are certainly floor nurses who drag their feet on new admissions for a variety of illegitimate reasons, including convenience. That is a leadership problem that should be addressed in their unit. There are also plenty of legitimate reasons to decline a new admit. Ultimately, it is the unit manager's responsibility to ensure adequate staffing of the unit based on patient acuity and safe ratios. That way there's always someone available to accept a new patient if a room is available.
3. Medical records existed prior to modern patient handoff standards. There's a reason handoff was created. The majority of sentinel events are related to communication failures. Yes, the information is available in the chart. When does the M/S nurse described in bullet point #2 have time to review the new patient's chart? Thankfully, most EMRs provide a patient summary/e-Kardex that can be reviewed in about 1 minute... but the nurse still needs the opportunity to ask the sending nurse questions before deciding if she will accept the new patient. When I worked in the ED, we called the receiving unit to say "Will you let the nurse receiving John Doe know that we're coming up in 10 minutes? I sent a copy of the patient summary, and I can be reached at extension 1234 if she has any questions before transfer." That system worked well because a) it didn't waste time providing a lengthy report; b) it gave the receiving nurse a chance to ask questions or decline the admission; c) it gave the receiving nurse a heads up that I was coming so she could meet me in the room if possible. If the receiving nurse wasn't available to review the faxed summary, the unit secretary was required to give it to the charge nurse instead, and she would temporarily accept the patient. The ED nurses were instructed to document report provided, transport to the floor, AND "Patient care accepted by ____." That's when our own responsibility for the patients ended.
4. First, I would have a sit down conversation with your manager. Present factual information and objectively list your concerns. Hopefully, the two of you can work together to find a suitable solution. If nothing is resolved, and you're truly having patients dumped on you without receiving a proper handoff, you should complete an incident report for each patient dumping occurrence at the end of your shift. Copy and paste Joint Commission's requirements for patient handoff into your report. Copy and paste your Board's definition of abandonment, if it's relevant. List any patient concerns that arose during the shift that would've been prevented if you'd received report. Do it every time. Make risk management aware of this dangerous process, and make it known that you're not willing to take the fall when a patient is harmed as a result.