I work on a telemetry unit primarily dedicated to post-op cardiothoracic surgery patients (hearts can come out to the floor as soon as POD #1, and lungs get recovered and then come to the floor a few hours after OR). If we have beds available, we can get surgical tele or regular tele admits. Most of our patients have chest tubes and pacing wires, and frequently have JP drains,epidurals and foleys. We are often giving blood, and can have cardizem gtts and renal dose dopa. We also have the highest rate of falls in the hospital and the highest acuity of all tele units. The generally accepted ratio has been 1:7 max on days and 1:8 max on nights.
Even with ratios as they are, we are stretched to the bone, dealing with all the complications and trying to get our general nursing obligations completed. Lately staffing has been worse (many days we have 2-3 nurses scheduled for our 26 bed unit). We were told today by our manager "You don't know what short-staffing is until you've had 14 patients".
I realize my generation can be a tad entitled at times. Having only been a nurse 2 years, I don't know if this is the standard elsewhere or if this is unacceptable. To me it seems highly unsafe, considering the acuity of our patients. But I am wondering if my manager is right and we are just spoiled, or if the higher acuity of many patients, combined with the added liability nurses have now as opposed to 20 years ago makes our frustration justified. Any advice please?? Thanks!