I swear...night shift gets no love. Last week I worked a shift where we were severely understaffed - I'm talking there were TWO nurses from 3a-7a. This ER has been getting busier and busier, so of course this was a slamming night. Want to know about unsafe patient ratios? Try sixteen patients for two nurses. 8:1 ratio. That translates to 7.5 minutes of care time per patient per hour. Which is awful. Pretty much I went from triage to triage, threw in an occasional IV, and did a couple of EKGs in that time. And charted. Sort of. And because this place has no triage nurse, we can't leave people in the waiting room like a normal ER.
By the time 7a rolled around, we were drowning. I was sitting at the desk charting the three new triages and one EKG I had done in the last 10 minutes, and the dayshift charge grabbed the staffing clipboard to fill out the assignments for the day. "Oh man," she sighed, "we're so shortstaffed today! There isn't a float to cover lunches, this sucks!"
The other night nurse and I just looked at each other. Or we would have, except she was taking up her own tele admit since we didn't have any techs.
I would be pissed, but it won't do me any good. We'll continue to be dangerously short staffed on nights, because administration needs to cut costs and nights are where it comes from. We'll continue to get burnt out on nights because we do the same amount of work with a fraction of the staff. I'll continue to blog about it because I'm just a traveler who gets pulled aside to ask why I took an hour to discharge a fast-track patient instead of congratulated for making the five minute EKG time even though I did an entire nSTEMI workup myself.
On the plus side, free pizza almost every night. And free diabeetus...