How hospitals staff their nursing units says a lot about the level of care you will receive should you wind up in one of them. However, this is not information that most hospitals will share with you. What you want to know is the nurse to patient ratio. A hospital that tends to staff down will have too many patients being cared for by exhausted and overworked individuals. Before you choose a hospital, take advantage of a visit to a friend or acquaintance who might be a patient there and use your powers of observation. Or, just hang out by the nurse’s station for a while. If it looks and sounds like chaos and there are a lot of call buttons going off and no one answering, this is a red flag.