Patient Ratio 1:8 and no tech!

  1. After doing med/tele for 3 years in one facility, I decided to try travel nursing. I am two weeks into my first contract and I am kinda worrying about their ratios. They are 1:8 on med/surg and med/tele floors and last night I had 8 patients and no nursing aid. I was doing q4 vitals blood sugars and cleaning pts. 4 of these 8 were admissions that were given maybe 30 mins apart... I was so overwhelmed. One was on a drip and I refused to handle the drip bc I signed up as a med surg nurse and specifically said I have never done drips. They still gave me the patient but the charge handled the drip. Am I being too sensitive for complaining about this or is this wrong? Charge tried helping out but she was also a monitor tech and charge for the ICU... I didn't chart til I finished giving report and didn't eat all night or drink water. Please comment!!!
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    About newgradamy, BSN, RN

    Joined: Aug '15; Posts: 4; Likes: 2

    35 Comments

  3. by   unreal
    Did you discuss nurseatient ratios when you interviewed? Those ratios are unsafe. Period. I know a lot of hospitals staff like that, but it's plain wrong. You might talk with your recruiter to see if anything can be done. Always clarify the staffing ratios and get it in writing before you accept an assignment. I feel for you. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess that you are working at a HCA facility?
    Last edit by unreal on Feb 24 : Reason: Add content
  4. by   NedRN
    Where was your first job? Where is the travel assignment? What is the staffing ration supposed to be according to the facility? We could use some context. Traveling in the South after working at a union hospital?
  5. by   newgradamy
    It's in south Florida I come from central Florida. No I'm not from a union hospital. I was told 1:8 but I thought we'd get at least an aid. My old facility we would get 7 but have an aid.
  6. by   MinneNurse
    Wow, those ratios are high, and without an aide?? And your charge is also working as charge for the ICU AND working as a monitor tech? What the heck? Can someone tell me if this is normal for Florida? I'm in Minnesota on a tele unit and my ratio is 1:4 and my charge is only responsible for our unit. We don't have a monitor tech but with 4 patients its generally manageable. We are union but a previous facility I was at was not and the ratio was the same and they had tele monitor techs. I don't think you are being too sensitive, seems unsafe to me and not a good situation for you or your patients. My suggestion is to come to Minnesota once your assignment there is up, its not bad in the summer, the weather is beautiful and there are plenty of lakes to cool off in !
  7. by   NedRN
    Minnesota is a heavily unionized state. Even non-union hospitals have to compete with union hospitals for employees, and have the same general workplace standards. The South is not unionized, the supply of nurse versus jobs is high, thus pay is low, and working conditions can vary wildly. For profit hospitals i the norm, and the accountants who run the hospital can only see that one less nurse (or tech) is money saved.

    Travelers to the South should be especially keen to ask the interviewing manager questions about staffing ratios and support staff.
  8. by   DowntheRiver
    1:7-1:8 AND without a tech is completely normal for Florida, particularly while it is still snowbird season. I was consistently given 1:6-1:7 without a tech as a new grad. I live in Central Florida and for this reason I no longer work inpatient hospital.
  9. by   NedRN
    I thought it was normal for the South, especially nights, but since it not my specialty, I didn't want to go out on a limb.

    To the original poster, you will be a stronger nurse if you survive. Prioritize like crazy!
  10. by   Tzetzes
    A 1:8 ration is not safe. First, are you a new grad as your username suggests. I would never recommend travel nursing to a new grad. It's best if you have a couple of years minimum in the bag before you venture out like this. Then again, jobs may be hard to come by in some places and you get what you can. How long is your contract for? What kinds of drips? Cardiac meds? They should be on tele then to assist if heart rate goes haywire. There are other drips that are not necessarily cardiac meds such as iron. Anyway, this is not how it should be even for a 1:6 ratio. Do all the nurses have same ratio and no tech. If it's just you, there's a problem and need to discuss with nurse manager.
  11. by   NedRN
    She said she had three years of experience. That's enough to give a travel assignment a try.

    Of course, working conditions in South Florida are the worst I've ever experienced. Perhaps the OP wanted to work there specifically, perhaps to be near home. Warmer than central Florida in the winter. Well, summer too. No matter the level of pre-travel experience, it is always best to do an "easy" assignment first, and then work up to more difficult clinical assignments.

    Nice to hear that working conditions are a bit better in central FL.
  12. by   LibraNurse27
    That sounds really tough and I totally admire you for sticking it out. I am from CA where we are spoiled with our legalized ratios... 4:1 for tele, I currently have 3:1 in ICU Stepdown. But I have traveled to Arkansas where they gave me 6 or 7 on days and 8 or 9 on nights, high acuity Med/Surg patients. It's really hard to keep up with patients' needs and charting, bathroom breaks and eating go out the window. I would definitely talk to the charge or manager and state that you don't feel the ratios allow you to give safe, quality nursing care. Good luck! Come visit us in CA!
  13. by   NTechTruth
    That's how it is. I am a CNA and I can tell you things like this is growing in healthcare.

    Just do what you can. If people don't want to listen and make changes, do what you can until you had enough and find a different job.
  14. by   CameToSlay
    They must be quite understaffed which is why they needed travelers, but honestly if those are the working conditions in Florida they really need to give travel nurses a raise there, last I heard the pay rates in Florida for travelers were quite low.

    It just doesn't make sense when there are other nice states paying higher rates, with much better working conditions.

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