What is a day in the life of an Orthopedic Nurse?

Posted
by sharapatan sharapatan (New) New

Hello all I am soon going to graduate nursing school (knock on wood), and I was looking into becoming an orthopedic nurse. I already know that you have to work for 2-3 years and get hours as well as take another exam to become an orthopedic nurse. I am wondering what it is really like? I do not have specific questions to ask right now, I would like to simply see what you all have to say about it!

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 10 years experience. 3,100 Posts

I love it. Pts, for the most part, are not sick, they usually don't stay in the hospital long (unless there are complications).

My unit is joints, no spine, so I can't say about a mixed floor.

Pain is always an issue. They all need help toileting (bed pan BSC, assistance ambulating to BR)

You get to work closely with OT/PT.

You learn body mechanics b/c you need it for you and the pts.

Jjpount862

Jjpount862

16 Posts

Pain is a big issue. In fact, they call my floor the "floor of pain". I currently work on a ortho/neuro/trauma unit. We see lots (lots) of geriatric hip fx. Lots of s/p mvc pts. My unit is spine cert. as well. You will learn how to spint and cast, and work with pt/ot. There is always someone who needs pain medicine/bedpan assistance. Most of your pts have mobility issues, so skin is a big topic. I love it though, it is a very interesting field.

Just.Blessed.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Psych. Has 2 years experience. 84 Posts

Bumping...more comments!!! I'll be graduating in the fall and need to decided on a leadership class to focus my specialty on!

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 10 years experience. 3,100 Posts

On my floor, we get a lot of pts with comorbidities. Learn about diabetes. A lot. Geriatric medication adjustments. Dementia. It is not just about broken or replaced bones/joints. MVA may have substance abuse issues. We get GSW. There can be some issues with that too.

It is hard to prepare completely because you can get anyone, with any kind of med hx, who happens to break a bone bad enough to require sx or hospitalization.

mosaicism105

mosaicism105, MSN

Has 13 years experience. 199 Posts

and most of them fall on POD 2 after foley removal because they think they are independent by that time.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 10 years experience. 3,100 Posts

We remove Foleys POD 1 in most cases. PT sees them POD 0.

I just found out we are merging with ortho spine neuro. A little nervous about backs :nailbiting:

Lev, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency - CEN. Has 7 years experience. 9 Articles; 2,802 Posts

We remove Foleys POD 1 in most cases. PT sees them POD 0.

I just found out we are merging with ortho spine neuro. A little nervous about backs :nailbiting:

Be careful with backs. Some docs want the Foley out on POD 2. You may see more PCAs with the back patients. They get good blocks and usually do well. The incisions are so tiny. Just do good neurovascular checks.

mosaicism105

mosaicism105, MSN

Has 13 years experience. 199 Posts

My ortho floor switched from 1:5 to 1:4 recently. Because work is heavy - physically. it takes time to bring a patient in a commode etc. With a lot of precautions and with the pca and iv pums with them. Pain management is also important. Skin integrity needs to be checked frequently. Etc.