On the day that I penned this post, I rounded at our community hospital.   My first patient was in the step-down unit, which houses patients who are too ill for the regular hospital floor.   I spoke to the nurse in order to be briefed on my patient’s status.  I learned that this nurse was assigned six patients to care for — an absurd patient volume for a step-down unit.

“Why so many patients?” I asked.

She explained that some nurses called off work and the patients had to be spread around among the existing nurses.

This occurs every day in every hospital in the country.  Nurses are routinely required to care for more patients than they should because there is a nursing shortage on a particular day.  Why do hospital administrators allow this to happen?  If any are reading this post, I invite your response.  Enlighten us.  When a nurse is overburdened, how do you think this affects quality of care and nursing morale?

I suppose it saves a few bucks on the payroll, but this strikes me as very short term gain that risks medical and financial consequences.   Providing high-quality medical care can’t be a rushed effort.  If a nurse’s job description increases by 30 percent, do you think the quality of care and patient/family satisfaction won’t decline?   Don’t administrators fear the risk of medical errors from overworked nurses?  Would any of them like to be patients under these circumstances?

Read More: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/10/not-taking-care-nurses-will-heal-healers.html