Day in the Life

  1. Can someone tell me exactly what the day in the life of a nurse really is. I mean, I know that a nurse "assesses" the patient but what general day to day operations do you handle?

    ...and who inserts chest tubes? I see it done on the Critical Hour but I don't know if that is a nurses' job and the job of a doctor.

    ...and what about the tubes in the nose. Do nurses actually do that as well?

    I know it varies based on your field but any information would be great

    Nik Nik
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   nightshifter415
    Depends on what your specialty is, but basically...

    If you were on a typical med-surg or peri/post-operative surgical unit, you hope to get a thorough report from the previous nurse on shift on about your 5 or so patients and then you have to prioritize your time and see who is in greater need than the rest. If you're lucky you'll have a nursing assistant who can help you out on all of the non-emergent issues that arise (i.e., vital signs, feeding the patients, bathing the patients, changing linens, bathroom/elimination issues). But you have to ask yourself: who is the patient that is having a hard time breathing? Who is in pain? Does Mr. So in So have a dressing that is draining more blood than normal? There is so much more like laboratory values and physical assessments, and you will eventually follow a routine based on your hospital's protocol. Your assessments are important because if anything abnormal comes up, then you've got to call the physician (and sometimes that is a trying situation in itself, because not all MDs are easy to deal with). You're pretty much responsible for everything that's happening AND administering all the medications in a responsible way. When in doubt, you can always double check with your fellow nurses on shift.

    Chest tubes are inserted by MDs, but RNs are the ones who have to try and maintain the integrity of the Pleurevac (the machine that the tubes empty into). Tubes in the nose? There are several different kinds, and the ones for stomach suction and feeding are definitely inserted by the RN. We learn those skills during the first year of nursing school.

    There are just so many cool things to observe and perform. You'd never realize how important poop and pee become on a daily shift because it indicates how well a patient's kidneys are functioning or how their GI system is holding up. I'm pretty sure the ICU and the ED are other places that have far more interesting procedures that are performed on a daily basis other than on a regular med-surg unit, those are avenues you might want to consider if you want to see a lot more action...

    Good luck...
  4. by   Daytonite
    insertion of chest tubes are a medical procedure and only done by licensed physicians. nasogastric tubes can be inserted by licensed nurses. you learn how to do that in nursing school.

    here is a thread on the general nursing discussion forum where nurses have posted what they do on their daily nursing jobs:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/day-l...se-185298.html - a day in the life of a registered nurse
  5. by   2bNurseNik
    Thanks for all the helpful information Nightshifter415.

    Daytonite....thanks for the link. Very Informative.

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