Hey everyone! Welcome to our comprehensive Nurse Workday guide.
This guide explores the daily activities of a Nurse, from the early morning preparations to the periods of rush rounds throughout the day.
Furthermore, we’ll discuss how health care facilities and adopting specialties can influence your day at work as a Nurse.
This guide will go over:
Let’s get straight into it!
What is a typical Nurse Workday like?
Often, a Nurse’s most considerable pride is the number of people they get to help attain positive health outcomes in a day of work.
The key to being a Nurse that impacts the lives of patients daily is to work efficiently with a team of other healthcare professionals to provide coordinated care for patients.
Apart from working in a collaborative team, there are several tasks that a Nurse may go through in a day of work to attend to a patient’s needs.
While every Nurses day may look a tad different from the other, here’s a general outline of what a typical day at work may be like for a Nurse.
Start to the day
Preparation for a day shift, typically between 07:00 am and 19:00 begins with discussions with Nurses from the Nightshift concerning patients’ medical status.
During this time, Nurses will also look over reports from doctors relating to assignments they should follow up on or patients that they have to see.
Other information a Nurse might encounter in the reports includes whether a doctor is required to assist with morning labs or if patients are scheduled for discharge.
After reviewing the reports and conferring with other Nurses, they should then be able to create an outline for the day according to the tasks they are required to fulfill.
The morning rounds have to be the busiest time for day shift Nurses.
Usually between 08:00 am, and 10:00 am, Nurses use this period to examine each patient.
This may include checking bloodwork for patients who are diabetic or have other medical conditions that need immediate attention.
The morning routine is also used to help patients with their activities of daily living (ADLs) like brushing teeth, bathing, and even dressing.
If there are other activities that a patient cannot do by themselves, like eating, it’s the Nurse’s responsibility to assist in this aspect.
Finally, should you be a Nurse authorized to administer medication, you’ll have to get this and other Doctor’s orders done during the morning rounds.
From about 11:00 am till lunchtime, Nurses are required to help patients get ready for lunch, for example, by checking blood sugars for diabetic patients.
After that, if a patient cannot feed themselves, Nurses will have to assist them with eating.
Nurses also have to again attend to activities like giving patients medication, drawing labs, and updating patients’ charting.
They may also be required to discharge and check in new patients at this time.
While lunch should typically be around 12 midday, Nurses don’t always get around to having something to eat and a break.
This is because Nurses’ day can get so busy fast.
Despite this, if you cannot sit down for a proper mealtime, you should ensure you can grab some snacks in between the day to ensure you have the energy to sustain yourself throughout the day.
After admitting new patients, Nurses will probably have to use their interpersonal and communication skills to help new patients adapt to their new environment and diagnosis.
They also have to help them understand the medication they will be expected to take and the overall treatment procedures.
While looking after new patients may be consuming, Nurses still have to attend to their older patients.
During the afternoon rounds, Nurses also have to catch up on attending to changing IV drips, wounds, or dressing.
Nurses might also need to administer more medication and other activities as prescribed by the Doctor.
Wrapping things up
At about 17:00 and before your shift ends, Nurses need to take the time to ensure they are rounding up the activities set out in the reports and by doctors.
Some of the things Nurses need to ensure they have wrapped up include ensuring the final straw of medication has been given.
Nurses also have to ensure the completion of patient charts in time for the next shift.
At this time, Nurses will also have to ensure that they prepare patients for dinner, assist with eating, and finalize any new admissions and discharges.
Towards the end of their shift, Nurses will also have to spend a few minutes discussing with Night Shift Nurses regarding patients’ reports and the progress of their medical conditions throughout the day.
Since Nurses typically work a twelve-hour shift, they should be allowed to leave by 19:00.
How can health care facilities impact your daily routine?
While a Nurse’s primary role is to care for a patient’s health needs regardless of the environment, Health care providers tend to influence the activities that a Nurse will participate in daily.
Below, we look at the most common health care settings for Nurses to work in and how they influence a Nurse’s workday.
Nurses in hospitals work either a day or a night shift to provide patients with 24-hour care.
Like all Nurses, their day will begin with discussions with Nurses from the night shift regarding a patient’s medical conditions.
Nurses will have to review reports concerning the plan of care they need to administer or assessments they have to conduct.
Similarly, a Hospital Nurse’s day will end with a review of the day with the Night Nurse.
The differences stem from the amount of emergency and critical care patients a Nurse in the Hospital may encounter and how it ultimately affects their day.
For example, if a critical patient is admitted towards the end of the shift, this may result in you working irregular hours.
Also, depending on the influx of patients in a Hospital, you may have to work weekends and night shifts.
Nurses who work in emergency transport are responsible for providing care to patients while in transit from an emergency scene to a hospital or clinic.
They may also be present when a patient is required to undergo a routine transfer.
Their day involves treating patients who have sustained injuries in accidents or administering emergency care during transportation, such as tracheostomies.
Transport Nurses also monitor a patient’s vital signs and administer medication during the trip.
Once they reach a healthcare facility, they are responsible for updating Nurses on duty about the patient’s medical condition.
Soon after that’s done, they’ll probably be on the road again, preparing to attend to another emergency patient.
Nurses who work in surgical clinics have a better structure to their day.
With Surgeries often being pre-scheduled, Nurses are usually in control of who they are required to attend to and when.
Except for the few exceptions when Nurses are required in the emergency room to deal with emergencies, their day may become slightly irregular.
Military bases are some of the biggest employers of civilian Nurses, and they usually require them to perform the same duties as they would in a civilian healthcare facility.
What’s more is that Nurses that work in military environments stand to attain better working hours, considering the military promotes a work-life balance.
Ultimately, a military Nurses day is typically characterized by providing medical care for military personnel and their family members.
In-home Nurses may choose to spend a day with one patient or interchange between several patients throughout the day.
Regardless, a typical in-home Nurses day will begin with checking medical reports, reviewing their patients’ care, and assisting with ADLs.
During their time with the patient, they will also be required to monitor a patient’s medical developments and administer medication depending on the type of Nurse.
Nurses who work in corporate offices typically work the standard office hours.
Their daily responsibilities aren’t as intense as other Nurses, like Hospital Nurses, as their primary role is to assist corporate staff with their wellness and self-care efforts.
The structure of a correctional Nurses Day can be pretty predictable in the sense that Nurses engage in activities outside their roles, such as inmate headcount, at the same time every day.
Similarly, there are specific hours that inmates can schedule medical appointments with Nurses and that Nurses can attend to them.
However, just like in health care facilities outside cells, Nurses may be exposed to emergencies throughout the day, which will prompt them to work irregular hours.
Although we aren’t able to discuss the typical workdays of Nurses in all the healthcare settings, we hope you understand just the type of variances that can occur in a nurse’s day-to-day responsibilities as affected by the healthcare facilities they work in.
In the next section, we’ll look at how choosing a Nursing specialty may impact your workday.
How can a Specialty impact your daily routine?
With more and more Nurses choosing to specialize, it’s crucial to know how choosing a Specialty in Nursing can affect your workday before you apply for a job.
For one, choosing a specialty may affect how often you get to interact with patients.
A Nurse who chooses to go to Nursing school to attain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in addition to a BSN program may get leadership roles and interact less with patients.
In contrast, an Oncology Nurse will have to interact with patients receiving treatment for cancer.
Furthermore, a Specialty can also affect how many hours you’ll work and how much stress you’ll undergo.
That is, if you choose to be a Surgical Nurse, you will have to be on call 24/7, while as a Registered Military Nurse, you will have a far better work-life balance.
Finally, a Specialty will influence the job setting you will most likely secure a job in, and in turn, you will receive the responsibilities associated with that job setting.
And as established in the previous section, there are differences in the daily activities of Nurses that, for example, work in a traditional hospital job versus perhaps an intensive care unit.
While the Nursing profession may be pretty rewarding, it’s widely known that the job can be strenuous.
Hence before you decide to become a Nurse, it’s good to get an overview of what a typical day as a Nurse may be like and the options you have regarding your working hours and conditions.
We hope this guide provided you with more clarity about what to expect on a workday as a Nurse.