I think we all can appreciate the argument. Nurses feel overwhelmed when the nurse-to-patient ratio is extended beyond our means. Not only beyond our means, but also when it borders on compromising patient safety.
That has always been the source of our angst and distress. Having one nurse care for additional patients in a single assignment becomes cumbersome and borders on unsafe. We nurses have always felt that when the ratio increases sooner or late something can or will be missed.
There is of course many details that are involved with nurse-to-patient ratio assignments. The most important of them all is the ‘gold standard’ acuity level of the patient. How ill (sick) are they. We some how have transformed a patients’ illness into a classification system? You of course have your general medical floor patients (med-surg), then your telemetry (monitored) patients and then the critically ill (intensive care) patients. And with each of those classifications you are further delineate into how ‘severe’ each is. I won’t tie up this post with all the measures I’ve come across that evaluate and ‘classify’ how sick a patient is according to whomever has created the classification. It seems these classifications differ by state, by facility, by administration, etc, etc. It’s quite exhausting.
… finish reading my original post over at Scrubs Magazine