How I know the hospital census.

My way to work goes through one of our myriad basement areas, the one where empty beds are stored.  I’ve seen literally none, and a lot.

The other night there were so many I couldn’t believe it:

Our count is down. This, too, shall pass.


  1. That’s a good place to look for lost ED gurneys. A sort of bed and gurney swap meet.

  2. Bob Rakov says:

    Same here in our little west Texas hospital. Whereas last weekend, not a bed to be found. Go figure.

  3. Enjoy the quiet time, my friend. Our ER census is a reflection of how many beds are sitting in the hallways during a shift. When I arrive, if the hallways are empty, I run and get a coffee to start my day. If I have to thread around beds, then no coffee for me.

    I hope you have lots of coffee this week! Nice post.

  4. A greater mystery than these spare beds is what happens to the pillows we occasionally have in the ED. They start in ED as precious commodities and then go upstairs with the patient on admission. However, they never come back to the ED. They go off into the great abyss of the admission wards never to be seen again. We must go through thousands of pillows. Is there really a pillow monster on the admission floors that consumes these things? Just one of life’s mysteries, I guess.

  5. nurse 1961 says:

    Beds were used up today and patient’s waited in the ED for more. Over 200 patients in a 12-hour shift. At one point we were waiting for 28 admission beds. The reprieve is over!!

  6. Despite how bad that looks that is actually fairly normal for late night when the transporters clear all the wayward stretchers off the units. It has happened that way for the five years I have been here. Not saying the census isn’t off just that the “runway” in the photo has been used as a temp holding area for a long time.

  7. I noticed it because I walk past it twice a day. Crazy.

  8. Our 62 bed hospital was 25% over capacity this past week. 13 patients boarding in our 14 bed ER; all ER patients seen on hall gurneys. Seems like they came out of nowhere…

  9. I can usually tell how busy the hospital is by who the doctor in the ED is. LOL

  10. nurse 1961 says:

    We can tell how “bad” our day is going to be by looking at which doc is coming in. Two slow docs in a row on a normal day kills the LOS numbers.

    Just a hint: Not everyone needs a “work-up”, we are an ED not the physician office!!!!