Hi. I will be graduating as a new nurse in just a few months, and it is time to start figuring out where I want to be. I loved a preceptorship in the ER, but they aren't nuts about new hires. When I was in the ER, I was particularly drawn to the ortho patients, especially anything sports injury related. None of my med-surg clinicals have been on ortho floors, but I'm guessing the majority of patients are total hips and knees, and that I wouldn't see many sports injury situations on a floor as they are often out patient. Is that correct? Any advice on what to expect should I decide to head this direction? Thanks!
Dec 17, '04
i think you're right that many of the "sports" injuries would be handled on an OP basis... i would suggest doing research about the hospitals in your area as to what cases they usually get on their ortho floors...
for example, the 3 hospitals in my city, Ortho unit 1 is where all the falls (broken hips) and spinal surgeries go... Ortho unit 2 is where all the "younger" cases go (arm, leg, ankle fractures, dislocated shoulders)... and the Ortho unit 3 is the scheduled knees and some hips...
i worked in the first Ortho unit right out of school and the majority of my job was to get people ambulating and doing bathroom runs... not fun... but i did get lots of surgical experience...
Last edit by Kudra on Dec 17, '04
Dec 21, '04
We have several hospitals also. Other than the Maternity Hospital they all do some ortho.
I did 22 years at the largest of the hospitals. I believe that ortho would be a good entry point. Your patients are usually somewhat elderly, not terribly ill when they come in for a hip or knee replacement. You will get multi-trauma patients and that's about the only time you'd ever see traction.I think the last year I worked we had a total of 3 patients in traction...in and out of it in 24h or less.
You'll learn the best way to take vitals, assess for ileus, determine the source of fever, how to pick up on an embolus, and working as a team. The big bugaboo for a lot of nurses is the amount of lifting. Always get help and always stand by to ease the patient to the floor. I think the last year I worked we had a total of 3 patients in traction...in and out of it in 24h or less.
Ortho is a lot of Med/Surg with some joy in seeing your patient better and going home. You will get a fair share of treatments, and you'll deal with more surgical/post op patients than M/S. You'll find you get closer to the doctors and a lot of them LOVE teaching new people how they prefer things. If you go to a teaching hospital well then you can attend conferences or even sit in on a class or two.
Where do you live. I'll put a little pin on hte map when you tell us that you were chosen for ortho.