Orthopedic and Trauma Med Surg Unit, what to expect

  1. Hey fellow nurses,

    I am graduating in May and have accepted an offer to work on the Ortho/trauma unit at a hospital and I was wondering what to expect from a split specialty work load. I am excited to get some experience before later transitioning to the ED hopefully. Does anyone work on a unit like this that can give me some advice and tell me what to expect. Any books I can get that would help me etc.

  2. Visit soulshine101 profile page

    About soulshine101, MSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 236; Likes: 66
    Orthopaedic/Trauma Nursing Split speciality; from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in Clinical Nurse Leader


  3. by   not.done.yet
    Expect a lot of total care patients (ie: broken hips, pelvic fractures).
    Expect to give a lot of pain medications.
    Expect a lot of patient and family drama due to their entire life being suddenly disrupted.
    Expect to do a lot of education about the difference between hospital recovery and rehab.
    Expect also to do a lot of teaching regarding cough, deep breathing, use of incentive spirometer, risk for falls, risk for pneumonia, risk for DVT, constipation and narcotics and blood thinners.
    You will be learning to strike a balance between compassion and drill sergeant, a feat I like to call being a "Mom nurse".
    Expect a wide variety of ages/stages of life and expect that the younger the patient is, the more difficult this is going to be on them and consequently on you.
    Expect to have a lot of post surgical patients.
    Expect to do a lot of focused assessments around pain, lung sounds, edema and skin. Learn the signs of PE, DVT, skin breakdown.
    Expect to be encouraging a lot of people to get past their fear to move. You will also have the flip side and have a lot of people who need encouragement to accept their limitations and reduce their risk of further injury.
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Mar 1, '15
  4. by   soulshine101
    Wow, everything you mention sounds like it will really help me define myself as a nurse to later transition into ED work. I might need to work on the drill sergeant part but all in due time Thank you so much for commenting with all this information.