Nearly 70% of medical-surgical nurses surveyed said they were responsible for more than five patients during an average shift, a level that stretches the limits of quality healthcare, according to the healthcare division of the American Federation of Teachers. Medical-surgical nurses cared for an average of eight patients during a typical shift, according to the March survey of 601 nurses nationwide, the survey found. "The staffing situation has gone from stable to critical and is becoming grave," said Sandra Feldman, president of the healthcare division, AFT Healthcare. The group recommended that states and hospitals set limits on the number of patients nurses must care for. It proposed ratios of four patients to every nurse in emergency rooms and medical-surgical units and one patient to every nurse in operating rooms. -- by Patrick Reilly
Most nurses care for too many patients, group says
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