look over patient's chart/orders/medication sheets/labs
search down thermometer/bp cuff
do assessment on one patient: introduce yourself, vs's, neuro check, listen to heart sounds/breath sounds/bowel sounds, assess skin, assess dressings/drains/iv's/foley, converse calmly and reassuringly with your patient, do patient education for any tests/surgery patient is to have today
repeat assessment for each patient
answer phone again, inform family of patient status, educate about patient disease or condition
answer 2 call lights: bedpan, get cola, pain medication, etc
give first round of medications for shift
day shift: bathe each patient (or at least set-up if you're lucky enough to have a patient who can bathe self), change linens, do dressing care
night shift: provide pm care (fresh pillow case, back care, mouth care, tucking in, sleeping pill, etc)
plan for turns q2 hours, back care, oral care for patients who are totals, or just needing assistance
make rounds with doctor, look up lab work and x-ray reports, explain to doctor why they're not already on the chart, try to find out information for doctor that is on chart while he/she is in possession of chart
spend 5-10 minutes deciphering illegible handwriting of doctor, usually asking at least 2 other persons to help
send patient to surgery: make sure correct paperwork is signed and on chart, medications are given, family is instructed to wait in the appropriate waiting room, while telling another family that you'll be with them in "just a few minutes"
spend 10-15 minutes explaining to patient and/or family just what doctor said/meant
chart everything in descriptive detail
answer 4 more call lights and two more phone calls
make rounds with several more doctors (30% have only 1 doc, 40% have 2 docs, and the rest have 3-5 docs), all the while smiling and being congenial/helpful in providing information and pleasantly listening to the bs that oozes around you
go to bathroom
pass more medications
restart iv, praying silently after patient informs you "it took the last nurse 6 tries to get it"
admit new patient: full assessment, obtain history, assess for home needs, list medications, list belongings (dentures, rings, glasses, etc) call doctor for orders, get water pitcher, stock bathroom, inform patient of orders received, perform orders received, inform family of visiting times/phone numbers/orders received, etc
send patient for test
check all your charts for new orders and transcribe medications onto medication sheets, sign off orders
check patient back in from test: reposition for comfort, obtain vs's if needed, check any puncture wounds made during test, order meal tray for patients who have been npo, etc
obtain sandwich and eat quickly
pass more medications, call pharmacy to ask about new medication that has not arrived
obtain i&o's: clear iv pumps, empty foley's, ask patient about intake/output not recorded
restart another iv
send another patient for test
place foley in new admit, pray it actually does "wink" at you
check patient back in from surgery: get vs flow sheet and fill in all times, get vs, check dressing/tubes/drains, review orders, give pain medication, hang proper iv fluids, ensure proper diet ordered (or family/patient informed of npo), complete all other orders
say good-bye to secretary as they are being sent to another department and sit down to enter your orders in computer
answer 7 call lights while sitting at desk and 15 phone calls, inform other staff of requests of patients and direct phone calls to appropriate people
get vs on fresh surgery patient, repeat often until all times completed
pass more medications
do anything/everything you have orders to do, but have not yet done, do patient education for tests/surgery patient is to have tomorrow
give report on your patients
chart everything in detail, making sure to not leave one thing out, fill in all blanks, remembering that if you didn't chart it you didn't do it
eat a bite
visit with family 30-60 minutes
go to bed, sleep 5-6 hours
get up, go to work
Does this help any?
I know there are so many more things that are done in a day's work. This does not even begin to include the specialized things that each area does. Be your unit ICU, CCU, telemetry, ortho, med/surg, respiratory, onc, etc. Your patient load may be from 1 to ?? One patient doesn't sound like much, but that patient will be in ICU/CCU and have multiple tubes, machines, therapeutic gtts, pages of orders to do, pages of medications to give, arrhythmias, are full-codes on death's door with 15 family members waiting to come in. And, even if you have 8-10 patients on the "regular" floor, you may have 2-3 total care's that need frequent treatments and who, 3-4 years ago would have been in the unit.
Good luck in school!!!!!!!
Nursing is so much more than any media can make it out to be.
Anything else someone would like to add?