For the first time in 9 years, today thousands of nurses in NSW have walked off the floor and are striking this week over failed nurse/patient ratio negotiations.
The NSW Nurses Association is calling for a major overhaul of the public hospital and healthcare system by trying to introduce mandated nurse/patient ratios. Negotiations on wages and a campaign of four-to-one patient ratios broke down this week, and nurses voted instead to strike.
When I started nursing in a private hospital, I worked on a variety of wards like medical, surgical, oncology and orthopaedics.
RN’s were generally allocated around 6 or 7 patients each, and there was an AIN to help between two areas.
On night duty you would have a whole half of the ward, so I guess this equated to around 12 to 14 patients per RN, with an EN on to help answer buzzers etc.
During day shifts you were really kept busy, and the workloads were fairly stressful. Night shift was worse in the first 2 and last 2 hours of the shift, but fairly pleasant in the wee hours of the night.
In my early experiences with public nursing they had adopted more of a team approach – 2 RN’s (or 1RN + 1EN) would be assigned to a shared 6 bay ward, with sometimes some private rooms tacked on to your load.
Current Nurse / Patient Ratios
Many hospitals now seem to be embracing team nursing rather than single nurse/patient ratio’s, so it seems that perhaps the problem is not quite as widespread as it used to be.
So tell me:
- How are your nurse/patient ratios where you work?
- Do you fly solo or work in a team nursing model?
- Are you happy with your workloads, or should all hospitals have set, maximum patient loads to ensure safe work practices for RN’s?