New grad interview on Ortho Unit

  1. Good evening nurses,

    I am a senior graduating from a BSN program this May! I have an interview on Monday for a night position in the orthopedic unit. I have a share day on the unit as well, I am very excited to see what's it's like. I have never done much research on orthopedics, I always thought I would have been interested in the NICU or Psych but I'm not too sure it's the field for me. So, I am very excited about the interview and share day to see what it's like. Any nurses can share what it's like to work on an Ortho Unit (especially nights), the stress level/work load, your patient load, different disorders and surgeries I may see on the unit? Anything would help me. I appreciate it!
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    All I know about ortho is from my stays as a patient! I was one of several knee replacement patients there at the time, and there were also a couple of hip replacement patients. There was a young man there with multiple leg fractures occurring shortly after he said something to his buddies about "hold my beer and watch THIS!" The nurses I chatted with told me that they get a lot of sports injuries and motor vehicle crash injuries and then there's the "old folks" with joint replacements. They all seemed to be happy with their jobs.
  4. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    I got the position. I'll be working on the ortho unit after I graduate!
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    Congratulations on your new job! I hope you learn tons! I really appreciated the nurses on the ortho unit who took such great care of me when I really needed it.
  6. by   RainMom
    I started out on ortho & really liked it (so much that I still pick up some prn shifts). It can be pretty physically demanding since everyone needs assistance out of bed. You act almost as a cheerleader for these patients to encourage them to meet PT goals & discharge. The patient turnover can be fairly rapid with many pts discharging in 1-3 days. Sometimes you seem to do nothing but give ungodly amts of narcotics & wrangle CPMs. Many patients are relatively healthy but you still can see a lot of complications that happen suddenly.

    Good luck with the new job!
  7. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    Congratulations on your new job! I hope you learn tons! I really appreciated the nurses on the ortho unit who took such great care of me when I really needed it.
    Thank you! I appreciate it greatly!
  8. by   mmc51264
    Congratulations!!! I am an ortho nurse and I love it. Use your lifts and good body mechanics and it is no more demanding that a total care gen med pt.
  9. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    Quote from mmc51264
    Congratulations!!! I am an ortho nurse and I love it. Use your lifts and good body mechanics and it is no more demanding that a total care gen med pt.
    Thank you so much! I feel like I am really going to enjoy it! Do you mind telling me what a typical shift is like for you?
  10. by   christina731
    Congrats on the job offer! I worked on an ortho/spine/general surgery unit for 14 months after I graduated. 75% of the patients were recovering from joint replacements. I worked night shift and it was no walk in the park. I learned a TON about time management, prioritization and safety. In any given shift I could have a complete turnover in my assignment due to discharges and admits from PACU (some patients waited in PACU until after midnight for a bed) or ER admits awaiting surgery (most were post fall hip fractures). I loved taking care of the patients but I hated the fact that there was no help. My unit had 35 beds, 5 RN's (including charge who had a full assignment) and if we were lucky, 1 CNA who worked their butt off. Many patients were confused due to dementia/Alzheimers/side effects of meds and attempting to get out of bed. Get a good pair of running shoes and make sure you learn proper body mechanics and use of equipment whether it be lifts/trapezes for the beds etc. Learn your facility's protocol for prevention of surgical site infections and venous thromboembolism. Treat your fellow RNs and CNAs like family because you'll need them more than you'll ever know. I finally left for outpatient PACU (also ortho/spine) and I LOVED it! Good luck to you!
  11. by   mmc51264
    one thing in ortho is that the patients are usually high turnover, our total joints go home usually pod 2, many pod 1. we get a lot of geriatric falls, so sometimes they stay longer until they can placed in rehab. Lots of time management with getting everyone pain medication on time and helping them as much as you can to the bathroom. You really need to have a good relationship with your aides because most ortho patients are not used to NOT being able to get up and get really angry if they end up soiling themselves.
    Lots of discharges and admissions. I work mostly weekends and that population tends to be our shoulders and ankles that are done late in the week and they needed another day. By the end of Sunday, we have more Gen/Med patients. Tues-Fri are the busiest. There are days that we may have 10-13 d/c and them admits (31 bed unit).
    We have PT that is there every day and they stay late so that is very helpful.
    The only downside is that we have a lot of residents on the floor because the upper level residents and attendings are in surgery. The residents tend to look to the nurses fir guidance sometimes.
    The best part is that most patients are not very sick and that means very few Codes. occasional rapid response for a vaso-vagal, but not too often.
    That's all I can think of right now. If you have more questions, I'll check back
  12. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    Quote from christina731
    Congrats on the job offer! I worked on an ortho/spine/general surgery unit for 14 months after I graduated. 75% of the patients were recovering from joint replacements. I worked night shift and it was no walk in the park. I learned a TON about time management, prioritization and safety. In any given shift I could have a complete turnover in my assignment due to discharges and admits from PACU (some patients waited in PACU until after midnight for a bed) or ER admits awaiting surgery (most were post fall hip fractures). I loved taking care of the patients but I hated the fact that there was no help. My unit had 35 beds, 5 RN's (including charge who had a full assignment) and if we were lucky, 1 CNA who worked their butt off. Many patients were confused due to dementia/Alzheimers/side effects of meds and attempting to get out of bed. Get a good pair of running shoes and make sure you learn proper body mechanics and use of equipment whether it be lifts/trapezes for the beds etc. Learn your facility's protocol for prevention of surgical site infections and venous thromboembolism. Treat your fellow RNs and CNAs like family because you'll need them more than you'll ever know. I finally left for outpatient PACU (also ortho/spine) and I LOVED it! Good luck to you!
    Thank you! I appreciate it. Why did you decide to leave Ortho?
  13. by   christina731
    Quote from kingvonnBSN2017
    Thank you! I appreciate it. Why did you decide to leave Ortho?
    Night shift and frequent weekend shifts wreaked havoc on my family life!
  14. by   mmc51264
    christina731 I don;t blame you for leaving! That is too much. We don;t do spine and we have at least 2 aides (31 beds) 7-8 nurses and a charge. I am sorry that you had a bad experience. We are borderline understaffed, but not like you were. wow. 4-5 patients is about our average. Hardest is the confused fractured hip that just doesn't understand.

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