I really need some help here. I work on a small thirteen bed unit in a community hospital. My boss has opened up six more beds for observation patients. The original concept was for it to be a 24 hr. short stay area, during which time it would be decided if pt was able to be discharged or needed rolled over to inpatient status. This unit is tucked away at the back of the Gero Psych unit separated only by a curtain from the elderly patients. The unit hasn't been used as was originally planned. Pts are being held there who are too violent to be incorporated into our general population, borderlines are being held there. One bpdo set himself on fire last week. They had to do a take down on him in the Gero hallway when he escalated one day. All the oldsters were present. It was a miracle nobody got knocked down in the ruckus. This unit was initiated without any forethought. No extra staff was hired. We're expected to come in extra hours and staff it through mandatory overtime. I worked there last night and admitted four patients. I had one who was MMR, schz, and has second degree burns over 20% of her body, IV's, dressing changes, paranoid and fragile as all get out. Admitted a bpdo, who wanted to take the thermostat apart and carve herself, an alcohol detox came in early withdrawal, a 24hr detention with cut wrist who had come with screwed up paperwork on her detention papers. I had to iron that out with state police officer standing there glaring at me like it was my fault. I was loaned a new clerk for a couple hrs. She was too green to be much help at all. My equiptment was a small table, a laptop in the hallway. The charts were placed on the floor. There is NO confidentiality because the patients mill around where all the documents are exposed and try to read charting over your shoulder. All the supplies were located up the hallway about eighty feet, well out of sight and sound of my patients, so in effect, everytime I had to run to get supplies, I was leaving patients alone. I know that this breaks every regulation in the book and I'm putting my license and life on the line by working in that area. My boss poo poo's every concern staff mentions. She calls us "Queen Bees". I don't want to quit my job but I'm about ready. There are about four other nurses who are as fed up as me. The rest of the staff is fed up but too afraid to complain to the boss. Am I over- reacting here?