* Vital signs, assessments. In the ER, however, our assessments are focused based on the patient's chief complaint.
* IV starts
* Specimen collection - drawing blood/blood cultures, urine/stool/sputum samples, wound cultures, rapid strep, RSV...a lot of "data collecting."
* Obtaining 12-lead EKGs.
* Foley/NG insertion, if ordered.
* Assisting the provider with procedures...these can range from a pelvic exam to a spinal tap to central line/chest tube insertion and everything in between.
* Conscious sedation
* Medication administration, and A LOT of it, especially for pain.
* Tell patients that if they cannot produce a urine specimen within 30 minutes, they will have to be straight cathed. It depends on the provider, however. Some don't care and will wait...others will want the straight cath to be done.
* Bring snacks/cold water/hot coffee for patients and family members.
* Assisting patients to the bathroom, whether it's to the actual bathroom or the bedpan...or cleaning up incontinent patients. And this includes unhooking everything and then having to rehook everything back up.
* A LOT of documentation.
* A lot of patient education.
* Reporting off to either an oncoming nurse, a nurse who is covering your patients or to the floor nurse if your patient is being admitted.
* Mixing medications. I came from the floor and was spoiled with pharmacy mixing all of our antibiotics but where I work, we mix pretty much everything. There are some medications, however, that pharmacy will always make for us.
* Obtaining fetal heart tones.
* Assessing visual acuity.