Understaffing in LTC problems

Specialties Geriatric

Updated:   Published

I'm a new grad LPN trying to decide if I should work at a nursing home or drug rehab clinic. Every single nursing home in my area is understaffed. I just rejected a job offer where there was severe understaffing 1 nurse to 120 patients. Then now, I am interviewing at another facility where there is 1 nurse to 84 patients. Maybe not every floor is understaffed but it frightens me to imagine that I will be left alone with 80 patients to take care of as a completely inexperienced nurse. Sure, training can be a few weeks to a month but still I am an inexperienced nurse regardless... I shouldn't be left alone with 84 patients. 

 When I was doing clinicals in LPN school, I noticed that a lot of the LPNs weren't even doing wound care for the patients' bed sores. Patients would go days without their wound dressing being changed. Aren't nurses afraid of the day the State will visit the facility and question about why things are the way they are. If state is in, would it mean that I would need to do med pass, wound care for every single one of the 40- 80 patients within an 8 hr shift? I don't even know if it is possible to do that many people within 8 hours. 

Nursing home says LPNs a decent salary while hospitals pay LPNs nothing which is why I'm leaning towards long term care but I am really afraid of putting my license at risk by doing an unrealistic workload etc. What is your advice? should I just avoid New York nursing homes entirely? Do you think the nurse to patient ratio will be better in drug rehab clinic? 


13 Posts

Ask them specifically what your job description entails, some places are assisted living where the patients are mostly independent & take their own meds or they have CNA's who are trained to administer medications. If you have to pass meds and do full nursing care on 84-120 pts, do not do it! Don't put yourself in that nightmare. Have you looked into home health shift care? When I was a new grad the nursing home was too stressful so I ended up working for a home health agency. I took care of a little toddler with a GT and trach in his home, they had so many parents on a waiting list because there weren't enough nurses. The parents are usually very controlling and micro managing but once you show them you are competent and trustworthy they will love you forever. They are so overwhelmed they appreciate the help. Drug rehab places, group homes for teens with eating disorders or behavioral issues also have low ratios usually 6 to 1 nurse. Look around and try different things out. You can always leave during orientation if it's awful. Good luck!

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