I currently work on a crazy busy medical/oncology/palliative unit in a city relatively far away from my hometown. I have 2 years of experience and have learned a TON because of the sheer patient diversity we see on our floor. IVs, CVADs, blood products, chemotherapy, crazy wound dressings, chest tubes, tube feeds, TPN, trachs, PCAs...these are all things not uncommon to our floor.
However, now that I have some experience under my belt, I want to move closer to home, meaning I'll be needing another job. There is a hospital job opening in my hometown on an ortho unit. All that I remember from my ortho placement in nursing school was a lot of hip and knee repacements.
I'm used to seeing new things every day (like I said, on my floor, we see a ton of diversity, more than I've ever seen on any other unit I've been to in school). I'm used to high acuity (febrile neutropenics, anyone?) and keeping up with a fast paced environment. I like variety and some complexity to keep me on my toes. I'm worried that ortho might be too...monotonous? I don't want to do just hip and knee replacements all the time, you know? But, things always look different from the perspective of an inexperienced 2nd year nursing student compared to a full-fledged RN, right? So perhaps I was just missing things as a student that I'd be aware of now that I'm a nurse with some experience.
Jul 18, '12
you'll see lots of things! its definitely not boring. im just a newbie, precepting nursing student (almost done!), on an ortho/onc floor but i can tell you a bit about what i see from the ortho pts. im also an aide on this floor.
a lot of PCAs/epidurals, pain control is big. a lot of blood transfusions, wound care, infections. the relationship between nursing and physical therapy is great, better than other floors ive been on. its great to see someone progress towards their goal, get better and go home so quickly. the patient population is cool too, i get anything from 20-30 something y/o pts getting spinal fusions, or fx leg, pelvis, arm, ankle reconstructions, 40-60 y/o knee replacements, and even older hip fx that may or may not get a replacement.
its pretty fast paced, and you'll get some big muscles helping those pts move around. i really love it. i prefer taking care of hurt pts over sick pts for some reason.
i dont know if the floor you are looking at gets any medical overflow, but we do and it breaks it up a bit. were also the only chemo certified floor in our hospital so we get all the onc pts, and we also get some gyn post ops. but honestly, the orthos are my favorite!
Jul 20, '12
Thanks for the response! For the record, I applied for the job anyway. At least, if I get the job offer, I can take it or let it pass. If I don't get the job, it won't matter - I'll just stay where I am!
I'm not sure what exactly the ortho floor I applied to gets in terms of patient diversity. I just know it's a surgical ortho floor. I'm fine with managing pain (we see it a lot in onco/palliative) and I'm comfortable with blood transfusions (also because of onco, LOL). And because we see a lot of medical patients, too, I've done a variety of wound dressings so I'm ok with those. But you make a good point about taking care of hurt patients v.s. sick patients. I feel like I need a break from people who are so sick that you know they're just slowly dying, no matter how much you treat them.