What is the Registered Nurse Patient Ratio at your hospital?

Nurses General Nursing


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I am disabled now, but when I worked as a critical care nurse (in NJ) the ratios in critical care were often scary. We had no tech, no secretary or nursing assistant to speak of, so everything was on us at night to do. Secretary, nursing assistant, transport, you name it. (This is what shortened my nursing career BTW).

ICU 1:2, 1:3 (except for 1:1 pts)

CCU 1:2, usually 1:3 (except for 1:1 pts)

NEURO ICU 1:2, 1:3 (except for 1:1 pts)

I must tell you that after some crazy busy nights, we had patients miraculously tuen into 1:1 patients after having them as a second or even third patient all night long. And all too often, patients on a 1:1 on day shift suddenly didnt need 1:1 care at night, which is total BS. The night shift was totally abused, and they wondered why no one wanted to work nights and they couldnt keep staff longer than a year! Because if you complained, you automatically were labelled a troublemaker, not an advocate for good, safe patient care!


99 Posts

Specializes in ER.
Here in California we had a ratio law. I recommend fighting for the same if your state doesn't have one. Ratios that many are discribing here are scary and unsafe.

California RN Staffing Ratio Law

I don't see anything addressing the triage nurse with 25 patients in the lobby. Plus, limiting a fast track nurse to 4 patients is a waste of resources.

Note: I did not look in additional locations for information about the California staffing ratio law. If somebody has info on how they address triage with 20-40 patients in the lobby, please let me know.


21 Posts

I work on an ortho/neuro unit. We're at 5:1 with the charge nurse at 4:1. When we're short staffed we're 6:1.

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

L&D 1:1 (most of the time)


178 Posts

I work in PCU, night shift. Our ratio is supposed to be 1:4 with a free charge...but ummm.... that there is a blessing! In the last year that has been very very rare! It has been 1:5 with no free charge unfortunately.


1 Post

A Florida Trauma Center

ER - no ratios, I'm sure there's one in a policy somewhere but we never divert unless we can't handle the traumas and even then mass casualties don't apply

PACU/Post Cath - 1:1, 2:1

MS ICU/Neuro ICU - 1:1, 1:2-3 (our norm) It all depends on acuity, throw in some floor holds and the ratios can go up to 1:4

TICU - 1:1, 1:2, 2-3:1 usually our fresh traumas and its a charge or co-charge that comes to help not a staff nurse. Never ever more than 2 with trauma unless specifically cleared per Surgeon.

CVICU - 1:1, 1:2


Post PCI - 1:3

Tele/MS/T-Ortho/Ortho - 1:7


25 Posts

Illinois hospital

I work on a medical/oncology unit and we take 4 to 6 patients. We never take more than 6 patients at a time.

It is the same for the cardiac, surgical, and rehab units.

PCU can have up to 3 patients I believe. ICU is 1 or 2 patients depending on acuity.

We have a Behavioral Health where the nurses can have more patients than 6 each, but if they do; a medical nurse is sent to the unit to help out.

We have decent staffing grids, but not always the staff to follow them.


1 Article; 156 Posts

Specializes in CCU, MICU, and GMF Liver.

MICU Pennsylvania, USA

1:1 if they're very sick. 1:3 if they're PCU level and just waiting on MICU for a PCU level bed. 1:2 is normal.


4 Posts

Hey everyone! Thank you so much for sharing. It's very helpful to me.

Some of you have the incredible ratio though... and I'm sorry for that.

I really wish someday you will find the right place for your loving jobs.


4 Posts

I'm in Philadelphia, PA. Acute care urban hospital.

Med-surg 5:1

ICU 2:1

Oncology 4:1 (new, used to be 5:1)

ER 3:1

everyone can go up by 1 if short staffed, have seen Med-surg as high as 7:1 in staffing emergency, until they can get a nurse in from home, etc. Generally don't see more than 1 above ratio for ICU. I'm in Oncology, we try to staff 3:1 on day shift if giving chemo infusion that shift because of time-consuming double checks, increased monitoring.


186 Posts

A Florida Trauma Center

ER - no ratios, I'm sure there's one in a policy somewhere but we never divert

/I wish we had safer nurse/pt ratios in my ED. I work at a Level One trauma center 1:5 ratio and they don't give us more than that But sometimes I am holding 2 ICUs and then I have ER pts as well. Management just says to "work smarter". And now we do "pull to full" so if u have an empty bed u know ur getting another pt. a lot of our nurses that have worked there 10plus years are leaving Bc they feel it is not safe. It is scary Bc I just want the best care for my pts. It is hard and we can't give all the patients the best care. Also all pts are triaged in the back. In the triage area they just get vital signs and send the pt back to the room. So as I see them coming we eye ball them and r already triaging in our head ! [emoji53]


1,082 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Specialty ICU at a regional trauma center in the Southeast: 1:2 or 1:1, 1:3 if short-staffed :/

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