Serial Questions About Nursing Practices in Australia


Hi All,

I've been working agency as a division 1 Registered Nurse around Melbourne for several months now. Only part time, though. I went to nursing school in America then worked full time a few years before moving to Australia.

One of the benefits of working agency is that I've had the opportunity to sample 20 different hospitals. That's been great. Although, since I've never had a routine place of employment over here, I haven't felt like I've totally caught on to the finer nuances and expectations of Australian nursing practice.

I've learned a lot just by jumping in the deep end with an open mind, asking questions, and listening to the answers. It hasn't been terribly easy, but I'm doing ok with it.

The pace of the work doesn't allow me much opportunity to discuss things in depth with other nurses. Alternatively, I thought this may be a good forum to ask such questions and allow time for discussion. Of course, let's not let this turn into a pissing contest. One isn't better than another. They are just different.

I hope some of you are interested in taking part.

Ok. So, I guess I'll start with physical assessment in a med-surg ward context...

What is the typical standard for a registered nurse in respect to physical assessment over the course of a shift?

I've come from am environment where nurses are expected to do a breifly head-to-toe physical assessment for each patient, each shift, shortly after starting a shift. Also focused assessments on areas of concern. This would typically include (at the bare minimum):

-general visual assessment of neuro and questions to determine orientation level.

-lung auscultation

-Listen to heart sounds, pulses, perfusion, oedema

-bowel sounds, palpate abdomen, questions about bm, flatus, appatite

-questions and/or physical assessment of GU

-thorough skin assessment for pressure areas

-assess wounds, lines, drains, tubes



Just from looking around the various med-surg wards I've been, I'm getting a feeling this isn't the case here. It's my gut feeling correct? Is it because that's not standard practice in australian nursing?.. or is it one of those things where it "should" be done, but isn't?

Thanks for your time. Amy input would be greatly appreciated.


US RN in Oz

83 Posts

Apologies for the minor typos :facepalm:. It's=is, Amy=any, etc. The risks of posting late night, I suppose.