Cardiac ICU with 2.5yrs experience out of nursing school
: I do a head to toe every patient every shift. I look at med drips, every line in and out. Check my piggyback infusion make sure bag is before pump. I've gotten better at clumping all my questions together in a casual convo: Introduction, check ID band/patient's orientation. pain, cough, swallow well, belly tenderness. Then I listen: Heart, lungs (A/P all the time), belly. Then I palpate, belly, pulses. Then I test strength. Draw labs if needed. This process takes me about 10 minutes each patient.
I often time wonder the same things that you do when I see nurses sitting around talking for the first 20 minutes after getting report but being the first ones done and sitting around talking.
I feel like I am always doing something. I rarely sit for more than 15minutes each hour it seems. I see my fellow nurses reading books, playing internet games, gossiping, studying, etc. I'm like wow, I never have time to do those things. Wondering what am I doing wrong. Is it my assignment? Do I spend too much time with my patients? Am I doing things that I really don't have to do?
I have seen nurses that come in and before they look at their patient do all of their computer charting. I asked one person how, he said if there are any changes he go back in later and change it but he wants to get all his computer work out of the way.
It's nice to have these kinds of nurses available because they are always available to help others i suppose. If a code happened they are ready to go. I feel I'm so busy during my shift I rarely have time to help so when I do help (because I don't want to seem like a team player) I fall behind in my work.
My supervisors have praised me on my thoughrough charting. I've also had patients tell me that I am very thoughrough to the point where one patient asked me if I had to do all that I was during my assessment. He said, "You are the only nurse here that did all of this". I told him we have to chart and I don't want to lie and say lungs clear, skin is fine, no air leaks in chest tube, Alert and oriented, etc when I don't have a clue. I can't lie like that so I am forced to check because I am legally bound by my assessment. He said, "OK, well I'm not trying to give you a hard time, guess you gotta do your job".
I am still trying to figure out ways to shorten my shift but still do what is required of me. Sometimes i want to sit down and do nothing for an hour.