Nursing is one of the hottest career fields right now and is projected to grow at a rapid pace as the demand for health care services by the aging population keeps increasing. Ask 10 college students what they are majoring in and 3-4 will probably tell you nursing. But what is it like to actually be a nurse? Let’s take a look at a day in the life of an RN.
First off, there is not typical day. Nurses must be ready for surprises at all times and be ready to think on their feet. Nurses can generally plan when they work and how long their shift will be but that’s about it.
A normal nursing shift is eight hours long. Nurses work very non-traditional hours. Nurses may work the day, evening or night shift. One common misconception is that nurses who work in the evening have it easier but that is entirely not true. Each shift requires the nurse to care for patients, complete reports, and balance their priorities.
The shift will probably start with a briefing by the previous nurse. He or she will give a rundown of how the patients are doing and what has occurred. This is a very critical step and will set the tone for the day. The previous nurse will go over patient diagnosis, medications, special needs, patient requests, and which patients might get discharged during the upcoming shift. The nurse will also need to go over the doctor’s reports for each patient.
Before the nurse starts treating patients they need to set up treatments papers for each of their patients. The nurse will need to record the notes he or she got from the previous nurse as well as information from the doctor’s reports. This is also a great time to look at any lab tests that have been conducted or will be conducted.
The next part of the day entails seeing patients. Hospitals try and give nurses a balance of patients. They try and give the nurse some patients with a lot of needs and some with little needs. The rule of thumb is to give each patient 30-40 minutes but it does not usually happen like that.
The rest of the shift entails working with patients and trying to keep records updated. The record keeping aspect is extremely important and not often thought about by people considering the career. Nurses must be organized and detail oriented to avoid making dangerous mistakes. At the end of the shift the current nurse briefs the one coming on and the cycle continues.