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Many nurses are scared to speak out about unsafe staffing as they fear retribution from their employers and even the board of nursing. 

Since Nurses are the  "Number 1 trusted profession", we should be able to discuss the situations that are putting patients lives at risk and is causing nurses to leave the profession faster than it took for them to gain the education to practice. However, for many they cannot.

Below are comments made from nurses who were brave enough to speak out about their experience with unsafe staffing. 

Their identity will be kept anonymous for their protection.

It's time for these places to stop getting away with putting our licenses on the line constantly and putting our patients at risk. It's time for nurses to get their deserved breaks and lunches- while their patients are safely covered by a break nurse-while working 12-14 hour shifts. The patients these days are too complicated to continue thinking a ratio of 6 or 7 is acceptable on a med/surg or tele floor!

We need national reform. I have worked on an acute care cardiac floor at night where 7-11 pts was acceptable to them and even mentioning we didn't feel safe or couldn't actually perform everyone they wanted done fell on deaf ears.

Hey, you must me in Florida! I was med/tele... 6 patients, RNs do q4 vitals, and only 2 techs for all 40 patients...did that for 2.5 years. Glad I left! Im in Washington now. 5 pts max, a tech for every 10 puts. Techs do vitals and we actually get breaks!

I'm in TN. Not a traveler, but looking at it. I've been a nurse barely six months in a Step-Down ICU. Have 5 patients most days and occasionally 6 with transfer and new admit. The majority are on drips, getting blood, and hallucinating (bed jumpers).

I have worked in Florida and California. California was a breath of fresh air with staffing ratio laws. And guess what? Hospital administrators still make obscene salaries and hospitals are thriving- imagine that! We staffed up for the inevitable admissions, extra staff was available for trauma admissions, patients were often 1:1 on balloon pumps or CCRT, etc. Somehow it all worked, so I know other states can also stop abusing nurses and do the morally right thing. It's sad that a law must mandate that hospitals and nursing homes do the right thing for  patient safety but thats sadly the state of healthcare today.

Okay, someone tell me it gets better. It is my first week on the contract working on my own. So far it's been a nightmare. I am working day shift med sure. I am at a small community hospital in the southeast. I have 6 patients every day. Today out of my 6 I had to discharge 3 than take an admit and an unstable ICU transfer.


These patients all have multiple comorbities. The unit is 30 beds and there is usually only 3 CNAs and all nurses have 6 patients. I feel like I can't even perform my best nursing care and am constantly running around like a chicken with my head cut off! Yesterday I worked 13 hrs without a lunch. Today was 14 hours with me quickly shoving a sandwich in my face in less than 5 minutes. Only saving grace is everyone is really nice. Any Advice? Except what nursing licensure insurance is best at this point?

The ratio in a critical care ICU (Trauma) setting should really be 1:2. However due to short staffing issue it becomes 1:3 on a good day and 1:4 on a worst day and we were told to just make sure medications are given, and they wonder why the nurses are getting sick and why patients are developing elders. If you have a 309 lb patient. Intubated with tubes and wound vac you have to beg help from other discipline like RRT and Xray techs. You are lucky if they agree to help otherwise the patient won't be repositioned at all! 

A lot of places do not have care partners or enough of them or as you stated, "good" techs and they still take 7, 8, even up to 12 or13 pts. The care that results from these situations is the one reason nurse do not stay in nursing long anymore. Who can stand that much responsibility or that much guilt when things do not go right."

KY. Acute care/ICU. 1:4 or 1:3 and this is with 7 beds. No ward clerk or techs, only 2 nurses takes most days. So charge nurse takes full load of patients and does other duties as well. Plus we monitor telemetries for the facility as well. This is typical everyday staffing. Occasionally we do get an extra person to help and if lucky it's a nurse who can help take patients and lighten the load but any and all helps appreciated.

As an RN for 37 years, I can tell you unequivocally ratios protect the patients and the Nurses! In California, as a bedside nurse, I witnessed the implementation of ratios as patients became more and more complicated! It saved the nursing profession and many lives!

I'm on a leave from bedside medical/surgical nursing because of stress. We have 5-7 or 8 patients during the day! I work on a telemetry surgical unit working with sick patients with many co-morbidities!! Everyday I wish I could give my patients the care they deserve!

We do acute dialysis as well, which is supposed to be 1:1, that's what they told us when we started... I have a coworker that had 4 pts in ICU the other day. 1 ventilator, 1 balloon pump, 1 ICU cardizem drip and an overflow.

So yesterday I posted about my first day at a new facility and the RN orienting me had 8 patients! She told me they also have had 10 pts! I told my recruiter it wasn't safe and I wasn't going back and now he saying if I don't go back and work out notice they will get a hefty fine that will be passed on to me? So I'm supposed to go work in unsafe conditions to give a notice?

ER patients are pulled from the waiting room and placed in beds in hallways because statistics say they are less likely to leave if they are in a bed. The result? Nurses working with ratios up to 1:8 when the national standard for safety says 1:3 best insures safety for staff and safety and quality of care for patients.

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