What is the Registered Nurse Patient Ratio at your hospital?

Nurses General Nursing


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Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

Pediatric ICU 1:1 or 1:2 (ECMO patients are 2:1)


1,224 Posts

Specializes in Medical-Surgical/Float Pool/Stepdown.
Are these at a real hospital or just what you wish the ratios were???

Yeah, so where exactly do I have to move my family to???

Med/Surg--5:1 max but usually 4:1.


830 Posts

Med Surg here, night shift. 6-7 patients with it never being more than 7. Sometimes it goes as low as 5 patients but that's unusual. No, we do not have a union and this is in a medium size Arkansas city.

For OP, I think it's important to know that these numbers are not standardized across the country. Most states do not have any law related to staffing ratios.

Not all ratios are created equal, either. Tech-to-patient ratios affect the workload that a nurse will have with the exact same number and type of patients.

I've had more than 30 patients on night shift in LTC/subacute rehab. Never more than 7 in LTACH or med-surg. My usual LTACH load was 4-5 including trached/vented. On med-surg with most patients low acuity and up ad lib, they it was usually 4-5 with no tech, but if census went up there wasn't extra staff to call in. My most recent unit was ortho, just after the hospital lost nurses in droves due to a short-lived attempt to up the inpatient ratio (on all their med-surg units) from 1:5 to 1:6. I never had more than 5 patients at once there, but it was a fast admission/discharge rate so I'd often be charting on 7-8 patients in a shift.

Julius Seizure

1 Article; 2,282 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Critical Care.

Pediatric hospital. There isn't an official "rule" about ratios here. But in the ICUs it is 1:1 or 1:2....2:1 for ECMO.

Step down/intermediate cardiac ICU is also 1:2. One time I had 1:3 for about 4 hours while waiting for two of those patients to get beds on the floor after having transfer orders.

Telemetry is 1:3 normally, rarely they might have 4.

Can't speak to the other floors, since I don't work on them.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

I'm in an urban hospital in the Midwest. I work ICU, and we are generally 2:1, sometimes 1:1 and occasionally 1:2 (that's patient:nurse ) Stepdown units are 3:1, and I think the general floors are 5-7:1.


47 Posts

Cardiac PCU. 1:3-4 nights and days. 3 if they have titration.

Specializes in Med-Surg/ ER/ homecare.

Some of these make me laugh, and not in a good way. In the hospital I worked at, med surge was 8:1, er was 7:1, and sometimes at night the er nurses, I kid u not, had 12 patients, and they WOULD NOT hire more nurses for night shift. Also, when I was freshly off orientation as a new RN on med surg I was given 10 patients and told they'd help me when I needed it. They didn't.

Specializes in OR/PACU/med surg/LTC.

Rural acute care hospital. Days 5:1, nights 7:1. We have a lot of awaiting LTC pts


1,231 Posts

Specializes in ER/Tele, Med-Surg, Faculty, Urgent Care.

The ratios can be skewed in actual practice if you do not have ancillary help (unit clerk at night/ less cna/techs) do it is misleading info.


99 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Med/Surg 5:1

ICU 2:1, 1:1 or 1:2 depending on acuity etc

Icu Stepdown 1:3

ED we generally staff 1:3/1:4 occasionally it'll end up at 1:5 if it's terrible. Although the triage nurse can sometimes be 1:30+, If acuity dictates we'll sometimes go 1:1 or 2:1.

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