Close the patient to nurse ratio gap

Everyday I walk into my shift answering an array of call bells and meeting multiple patients.

I can’t even count how many times I have had patients upset with me because they had to wait for their call bell to be answered, wait to go to the bathroom, wait to be washed up, waiting for pain medication.

They are always waiting. 

Unfortunately, with a patient load of 4-5 for day shift and 8 or 9 for a night shift on an acute medical floor, waiting is inevitable.

As a nurse, I must prioritize tasks, which means that if I am dealing with a medical emergency, I have no choice but to have my other patients wait. There are many days when I skip my breaks, take a late lunch because I am feeding someone else theirs, or hold my pee while I toilet everyone else.

We try our best to provide optimal levels of care, but there is only so much one nurse can do. Ontario has one of the worst patient to nurse ratios in Canada. It is time we close this gap so we can start giving our patients the quality care they deserve.