Your floor is crazy.
My first tele job was similiar. Extremely sick pts with patho and gtts (and 5:1 ratios) that would easily be in the ICU in many other hospitals. Later, I moved to an ICU at a different facility. At this hospital, the only drip on their tele floor was Heparin. The nurses in this ICU commented that the tele floor was not "progressive" and they remember all the things that they titrated when "they" were on tele.
When I first started out, I though it was a 'badge of honor' to tell all of my new grad nursing school friends about all the stuff I have seen (drips, meds, crashing pts, etc.). I felt that I was having such a better learning experience than they were (which, to some degree, I was).
As time passed, I began to realize how much the stress was waring on me. I was leaving work frustrated, barely getting through the orders of the day. Because many of the patients were sick enough to need ICU care, they took a great deal of time and energy to care for. Lunch was a joke and bathroom breaks were rare. Codes and transfers back to the ICU were a little more common than they should have been. All of this translates into a decrease in the quality of patient care. Was I teaching my new onset CHF pts about lifestyle changes? Nope, I was too busy titrating the 75 mcg/min of nitro that my HTN pt needed. Was I preparing my preop CABG pt for his postop recovery? Nope, I was too busy grabbing lidocaine (who still uses that? ) for my post code whose bag is running out and is throwing PVC's.
This stress that you experience at work carries over to all areas of your life, whether you realize it or not. I was gaining weight and becoming less healthy. I even think I started getting a little depressed. I know that I saw this with many of my co-workers.
Most importantly, in all this chaos mistakes will be made. If they are, no one will take into consideration that you had a crazy pt load - not administration, the pt or family, or the nursing board. Do not underestimate this last comment. Also, my friends who were working in better environments were making the same amount of money, because this area pays based on years of experience. Although they weren't stress free, I could tell that things were better.
Too often we rate our nursing abilities by how sick our patients are. Everyone wants to be the hero that saves the lives on the high-ratio, drip-giving, IV-pushing, code-having floor. It's great to be able to manage high acuity patients, but we also have to realize that if we only focus on that aspect of nursing care, we are doing much more harm than good for our patients.
When Mrs. Johnson is admitted for STEMI, it's a big deal. Do you think she would really trust you as her nurse if she knew that - because you've accepted a crazy work load - you may not have time to teach her about her labs, give her pain meds, or be there right away if she codes while another pt decompensates? What about John Smith, the new diabetic on the insulin gtt? Would he drive to another hospital if he knew that you probably didn't have time for his q1hr BS's? How could you with the ratios?
We are nurses, not super heroes. The economy is tough, I know. Unfortunately, you really need to move to another area. You aren't doing anyone any favors by working in (and, in a way, helping to maintain) an environment like this. These environments exist because we - as nurses - allow them to exist.