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ICU Nurse Ratios

Nurse _ICU_Oct -Dec 2017

What is an ICU?

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a unit in the hospital where patients are placed when they need a higher level of care, including intensive monitoring and closer observation.

What types of patients are in the NEBH ICU?

The ICU at NEBH is a multidisciplinary ICU that manages orthopedic surgery, medical, and general surgery patients. The majority of patients at NEBH are orthopedic in nature, and the ICU patient population reflects post-operative orthopedic care. Due to the complexity of many neurosurgical and spine surgical procedures being performed at NEBH, at least 50%, of patients being admitted to our ICU have undergone complex spine surgery.

Why are ratios reported?

Due to department of public health requirements, each hospital must report the following:

  1. Average daily patient volume;

  2. Average number of daily staff nurses; and

  3. Average daily staff nurse-to-patient ratio, which is found by dividing the average daily patient census by the number of staff nurses on per shift.

Who is on the ICU Care Team?

Although the numbers listed above reflect only ICU nurses, there are many more members on the NEBH ICU care team. In order to meet patient needs, the team is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of health care providers including:

  • An Intensivist. A physician specialized in Critical Care Medicine, and is the primary responsible physician for all patients admitted to the ICU.

  • Hospitalists. Provide on-site night coverage to all ICU patients, under the direction of the intensivist.

  • Physician specialists/consultations. Physicians who specialize in a variety of fields such as cardiology, infection control, pulmonology, hematology, endocrinology, etc., and are available for consultations when necessary.

  • A nurse manager. An ICU-trained Registered nurse (RN), who is responsible for overseeing the patient care provided by the ICU nurses.

  • An ICU nurse educator. An ICU-trained Registered nurse, who is responsible for maintaining the clinical competencies of all nurses working in the ICU.

  • The ICU nurses. Clinical nurses responsible for delivering 24/7 patient care, while working collaboratively with all members of the team.

  • Respiratory therapists. Responsible for caring for all patients who require advanced respiratory management.

  • A registered pharmacist. Rounds every morning with the ICU team, and provides assistance to the intensivist and nurses, performing a comprehensive review of medications and providing pharmacologic consultations.

  • A nursing assistant. Assist nurses in performing daily patient care, such as bathing, toileting, and ambulation of patient.

  • Physical therapists. Initiate physical therapy as soon as the patients have been medically cleared by the intensivist to participate in prescribed therapy.

  • Case managers. Registered nurses who follow every patient's care plan, and actively interact with the intensivist and nurses to monitor the patient’s progress. Facilitate the patient’s disposition once they are ready to be transferred out of ICU to another level of care.

  • Lab/radiology personnel. Available to do bloodwork or imaging tests as needed.

  • Nutritionist. Works with the care team to address all nutritional needs and assist in managing medical conditions. 

For more information on NEBH staffing plans, visit the Patient Care Link