High school student needs to interview working nurses for school paper.

  1. Any and all answers to the questions below would be greatly appreciated. I need to get answers from at least two working nurses for my paper.
    1. What do you actually do in your job?
    2. What is a typical day like?
    3. Where do you usually work and what are your hours like?
    4. Are there physical traits, personality traits, or abilities necessary in your job?
    5. Are there any high school or college/technical school subjects that would be helpful if I were to enter this line of work?
    6. What work experience would be helpful?
    7. What is the average starting salary and after 5 years?
    8. What are some of the different fields in this area?
    9. How secure is this job? Are there many layoffs?
    10. What are some aspect of your job you like? Dislike?
    11. How large is the demand for people like you in this field?
    12. If you had to choose a job again, what would you pick? Why?

    Many thanks for your time.....an interested high school sophmore.
    Last edit by macfishy23 on Nov 5, '05
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   JentheRN05
    Quote from macfishy23
    Any and all answers to the questions below would be greatly appreciated.
    1. What do you actually do in your job?
    a. I CARE for people
    b. I take CARE of people
    on top of that I:
    c. Admit patients
    d. Start IV's
    e. Talk to patients
    f. Listen to patients/families
    g. Do assessments
    h. give medications
    i. Do treatments
    j. CHART ALOT
    k. Assist with procedures
    l. Change dressings
    m. Remove stitches/staples
    n. Help wash up a patient
    o. Assist the patient in whatever way possible

    2. What is a typical day like?
    1st - go in and get my patient load (a charge nurse schedules the load for each of the nurses)
    2nd - go listen to report
    3rd - go through the meds I will be giving for the shift keep track of said meds on my cheat sheet AKA Brains
    4th - Go in order of room number/necessity and assess each patient. I assess head to toe. Lungs, Heart stomach (listen to), assess if the patient is alert and oriented to person (self) place, and time (date - or day of the week), Equal hand grips, equal pulses, Strength of each extremity (squeeze or push), check lines, check vitals and sats (in some cases neuro assessments - PERRLA, response to stimuli) There's alot more. Chart at each patients room.
    5th - Give meds
    6th - Chart vitals
    7th - well basically at this point I either go through patients charts, call doctors with labs or whatever, and once this is done I try to spend some time with my patient.
    8th - Basically the Vitals are q4h, Meds can be every hour on up to 7-8 patients (not normally every hour on every patient, but out of that many patients usually at least one will have a med. And charting. Beyond that it's just a cycle.

    3. Where do you usually work and what are your hours like? I work in an ortho/neuro unit, 12 hour shifts 6P - 6A

    4. Are there physical traits, personality traits, or abilities necessary in your job? I would say some of the most important characteristics would be compassion, empathy, and knowing how important and precious life is.

    5. Are there any high school or college/technical school subjects that would be helpful if I were to enter this line of work? As much as I hate to say Algebra that would be one, most schools require it, I hated it all the way through school. Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, English. These are probably most important. I think Psych would also be very important regardless of your goals. It helps you understand the 'why' of people and choices they make.

    6. What work experience would be helpful? Being a nurses aide, Phlebotomy is awesome for becoming a good 'stick'

    7. What is the average starting salary and after 5 years? I can only say for now (graduated in May) Orientation is close to $19 (days), $21 (nights) after orientation it will go up.

    8. What are some of the different fields in this area? Well....OR nurse, Ortho/neuro nurse, OB nurse, Cardiac Care nurse, Critical care nurse, Intensive care nurse, ER nurse, Psych nurse. That's JUST in the hospital. Then theres home care, school nurses, nursing instructors, geez there's just so many places a nurse could/would work

    9. How secure is this job? Lol I'd say very secure Are there many layoffs? Ummmm.. No - it's nursing, layoffs are incredibly rare, we're too needed to even get close to laying off.

    10. What are some aspect of your job you like? Taking care of my patients. Starting IV's, Really the ONLY thing I can say I dislike is.... Dislike? Charting

    11. How large is the demand for people like you in this field? I would say extremely high demand. I had several job offers when I graduated. In 3 different states (would've been more but that's where I applied!)

    12. If you had to chose a job again, what would you pick? Well I wouldn't/couldn't be anything but a nurse. Why? It's all I ever saw myself doing.


    Many thanks for your time...a high school sophmore.
    Hope this helps you see what kind of wonderful future a nurse has, the kind that touches lives, that holds hands as life enters this world, and holds hands as a life leaves this world. No where else can you be a part of both worlds in such a profound way.
  4. by   JBudd
    Quote from macfishy23
    Any and all answers to the questions below would be greatly appreciated. I need to get answers from at least two working nurses for my paper.
    1. What do you actually do in your job?
    I'm in the ER, I do lots of assessments, from vital signs to listening to lungs, bellies, assessing skin, swelling, etc. I take patient histories, put tubes in just about every orifice of the body (had to flush out someone's ear the other day); start IV's; give oral, intramuscular, intravenous, subcutaneous and sublingual medications. I put on splints, bandages and slings, I teach people how to use crutches; I watch the cardiac monitors, assist in trauma resuscitation, set up trays for procedures and assist in those (chest tubes, pericentesis, conscious sedation). I assign patients to nurses and vice versa, call for admission bed assignments, the OR crew, the cardiac cath crew, report to the floors. I make sure housekeeping keeps up with rooms I need cleaned out,and that the laundry gets picked up. I clean and make beds. I listen to people on the telephone asking questions or yelling at me about the lousy care someone in their family got (because we wouldn't hand out narcotics like candy). I change diapers on every age person there is. I wash the feet of homeless and intoxicated men who haven't had their shoes off in several months. I do lots of teaching about medications, self care, wound care, etc. for people being discharged. I answer the radio calls from EMS in the field, bringing us people, and decide where to place the patient, which may include shifting around people already in ER beds. I do CPR, sometimes it works, and when it doesn't I notify families, law enforcement, Office of the Medical Investigator, Donor services, and I prepare the body for body bagging. Then I put on a smile and walk into the next patient's room, as though nothing had ever gone wrong. Then, I have to chart, write down every single thing I've done, or according to law, I never did it.

    2. What is a typical day like?
    see above, that is a typical day
    3. Where do you usually work and what are your hours like?
    In the ED, I work 12 hour night shifts
    4. Are there physical traits, personality traits, or abilities necessary in your job?
    The ability to multitask, stay calm, work as a team member, be strong enough to help lift patients twice my weight, and not urinate for 12 hours
    5. Are there any high school or college/technical school subjects that would be helpful if I were to enter this line of work?
    math math more math and science. Writing is very important, the ability to succintly describe things and spell correctly makes life much easier.
    6. What work experience would be helpful?
    first, volunteer as a teen in a hospital, second, get a job as a nursing assistant
    7. What is the average starting salary and after 5 years?
    blessed if I know. I started at about $9 hour. After 24 years, a bachelor's degree, mutiple required national certifications, I make $36
    8. What are some of the different fields in this area?
    Medical: taking care of people with illnesses; surgical: care for people having surgery; critical care: either cardiac or illness, trauma; ED: as above; home health, taking care of people in their homes with long term or terminal illness; hospice: palliative care; administration;
    9. How secure is this job? Are there many layoffs?
    nurses are in demand, we had layoffs in the 80's when the hospitals were trying for all RN staff, and got rid of LPNs. BAD move.
    10. What are some aspect of your job you like? Dislike?
    Fast paced, always someting new. Hate getting yelled at by selfish people who can't see beyond their own noses
    11. How large is the demand for people like you in this field?
    major
    12. If you had to choose a job again, what would you pick? Why?
    I like what I do, doubt I'd do anything else
    Hope that helps. Reading my own day makes me think I need a raise. And a massage.
    Last edit by JBudd on Nov 5, '05
  5. by   GalRN
    Ok, I might not have time to answer em all but here goes...

    1) I'm a psych RN. I work nights. The pts have to be in their rooms from 12a to 6a (or we "assist" them there). The main focus is to keep everyone safe, administer any as needed meds, and pick up the brunt of the paperwork that they don't have time for on the day/eve shift. Oh yeah, we have to do admissions too, which includes a 15 page assessment, calling the doc on call, transcribing and giving them the meds the DOC orders, orientating them to the unit, and answering any questions they have. On the detox unit we also have to assess how badly they are in withdrawal and medicate them appropriately.

    2)Typical night:
    - Arrive and get report from the evening shift
    -Until 12a, hang out w/ the pts, get them meds, answer their questions, basically meet their needs (whatever they are at that moment). Midnight bedtime rule is subject to change at discretion of Charge nurse (me) for things like sports playoffs, the Grammy awards, or a movie that's going to end in a few minutes.
    -Bedtime... most pts know the rules and go on their own. (we also give 10 and 5 min warnings) New pts are informed of rules. If they refuse to go to their room (they don't have to sleep) we find out why and try to fix the problem. If they are just being obstinate (or aggressively psychotic), we offer them the choice of going on their own or w/ "help". If they make the wrong choice they are physically escorted to their room as many times as is necessary. If they won't stay in there, we have a mental health associate sit outside the door. That almost always works. If it doesn't we offer them a prn med. If they are escalating and refuse meds, occasionally they have to be put in restraints as a last resort. When that happens they get a shot too, and when it kicks in we are usually able to release them.
    - 24hr chart checks. We check all orders written in past 24 hrs and make sure they are transcribed in the right spots and fix any errors
    - Then we deal w/ admissions as they come. If no admissions we read or talk quietly.
    - 5:30am Neaten the nurses station and make coffee, prepare AM report
    - 6am Some pts actually get up! we give them coffee, toast their bagels/bread, and get them their stuff if they want to shower. No shaving though, no sharps allowed on the night shift!
    -6:45am- Day nurses come in, we give them report and then scram! This hospital is good about letting us out on time. We always get out at 7a

    3) Psych hospital... Usually adult or adult dual diagnosis (detox) but sometimes I get floated to reg. adolescent or adol. dual.

    4)Kindness, understanding, the ability to stay awake all night, and the ability to deal w/ scary people w/o showing fear. Also, extensive knowledge of psych meds, interactions, and disorders, as well as detox protocol and how to use it.

    5) Psych 101?


    6) Working with pts in general... working as a mental health associate in a psych hospital would be very helpful.

    7) Started at $25/hr (psych pays crap) have only done 4 years but make $27 and change now, plus differentials for night shift

    8)Different age groups, detox. Grad degree I'm going to go for is Psych CNS. Like a psych NP (has prescribing authority in my state)

    9) Very secure. Not many nurses want to deal w/ psych, even fewer want night shift.

    10) I love teaching pts about their illness and how to work around it so they can lead a normal life. Occasionally I get hit, and that sucks.

    11) Very high... most nurses don't really like psych

    12) same thing... I love my job!

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