The new line from management to the community is "Patient care is our first priority."
The new line from management to us on the floor is "If you have a bed, we'll put a patient in it, even if you don't have a nurse."
Yesterday I started with five patients. One of them was way-high-acuity (a fresh neck dissection without a trach tube). I discharged three and got two in. Then I closed charts on all four of those and picked up two ICU overflows.
If you're still with me, that means I opened, assessed, and closed on nine patients in seven hours. The last five hours were spent with those two ICU overflows.
For five hours, I said things like "You must turn off that cell phone in this room" to one patient's wife and "Don't try to stab yourself with that butter knife, dammit" to the other patient.
Still.....one postop patient who was mostly intact and one patient with EEG monitoring beats SEVEN patients per nurse, which is what the rest of the floor had. Seven. Patients. Seven high-acuity neurosurgery and neurology patients. People on seizure precautions and confused people. Per nurse.
Oh, my God. We've turned into Enormo County Hospital Lite.
Just to give you some idea, I also:
cleaned two rooms
discharged one patient, including a fifteen-minute wait for the taxi
called over an interpreter twice for a patient who spoke no language I speak
dealt with post-lithium tremors in a patient
thwarted one case of suicidal gesturing
answered phones for a half hour
drank four pots of coffee in short order