What's My Day Like Nursing?

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If you are thinking of going into the world of nursing, you are probably wondering what that might look like. We wanted to give you a description of our days so you won't go into clinicals or nursing totally blind. This is for our 65-bed hospital where Sara and I met! We started working as techs and in my case as a unit secretary also. Our day usually starts by 0700. Most hospitals use military time, so get used to that. Many nurses get there early to get some idea of their assignment, look up labs and reports, and get settled for the long day ahead. Many hospitals or units are requiring that you perform bedside report.

Properly done, bedside report increases patient outcomes and includes the following steps:

- Both nurses are present to check mentation
- Confirm the plan with the patient
- Introduce yourself to the patient
- Perform a very short focused assessment to make sure there aren't any significant clinical changes

When you have gotten report on your patients for the day you will begin to fully assess your patients and pass medications. This is only if it is appropriate though! You are constantly assessing and prioritizing and you may have to do other tasks. I prefer to give my morning medications while I do my assessment. I have found if I don't, I will be behind for the rest of the day. You will find your own rhythm and how you like to do things.

After seeing your patients and giving medications, you need to chart. My own experience is if I get up from my chair when I'm charting I won't finish, so I get everyone sorted out, then sit down to document all of my findings. You will need to consult the experienced nurses on your unit and policy to see what charting is expected of you and what may be extra documentation. When you first start documenting you will be so slow! I promise you will get faster!

I'm usually finished charting by 1030 or 1100. Just in time to pass more medications and check on my patients! We are required to chart every 4 hours at least and as needed (PRN).

Depending on where you work, you could end up with very different patient demographics. As an smaller community hospital, we cared for anyone 18 yrs and older. Occasionally we would care for pediatric patients, but that was usually for appendicitis. You also have to look at your community to see who you will be caring for. If you work in a city with a lot of crime, you may see more trauma, drugs, and violence related injuries in the ER. If you have any number of retirement communities or nursing facilities, your observation and inpatient clients will most likely be from those populations. When looking for a job, you will want to take that into consideration. For other tips on finding a job, check out this post - Changing Jobs: How Do I Interview As A Nurse.

No work day as a nurse is complete without something going wrong! So, what barriers could you expect to face? You will be interrupted during everything you are doing.

Drawing up meds? Interruption.
Charting your assessment? Interruption.
Writing your nursing bl...? Interruption.

When you do come back to your task, you need to document everything you just did. You have to think of your charting as a legal document. That can be a lot of pressure. You will get used to it though.

You also won't pee, sit down, eat, or take a deep breath. But, I don't think any of us would trade this crazy profession for anything. I know I could not imagine doing anything else in the care of others.

Let us know what your typical day is like in the comments! We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading and as always, please continue to monitor...

- David RN

1 comment:

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