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What do you do...

Nurses   (795 Views 16 Comments)
by hungup hungup (New Member) New Member

235 Visitors; 3 Posts

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What do you do when there are no patients (ER), or on the floor when all your pt care is done?

I know there are lots of places that these two things never happen at, but I also know there are plenty of places that do have down time when pt care is done.

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Newgradnurse17 has 2 years experience as a BSN.

2,872 Visitors; 254 Posts

Can’t say I’ve ever seen ED empty. And it’s quite rare for all pt care to be done when working on different floors. But normally if there are too many staff they get sent to other departments to help out. Maybe for short period of time or maybe the whole shift depending on what’s going on. 

If I have down time, I try get ahead and prepare anything I can do now or write notes. Our hospital also has online education sessions I might do if it’s something useful. Otherwise I enjoy the quiet time while it last. Makes up for those hectic shifts where you leave late, or have no breaks. 

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NuGuyNurse2b works as a Student Nurse.

9,158 Visitors; 927 Posts

That's a rare site for the ED or any place in the hospital.  Usually we get sent home.

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13,548 Visitors; 371 Posts

If I have a few minutes to spare, I will joke around with my colleagues. There is always something to do on my med/surg unit, because another nurse may see you sitting and ask for help with something. As for my hospital’s busy Level 1 trauma/stroke designated ED, it will be the end of the world if it is ever empty. 

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and works as a Behavioral Health RN.

13 Followers; 1 Article; 72,663 Visitors; 5,872 Posts

2 hours ago, hungup said:

What do you do when there are no patients (ER), or on the floor when all your pt care is done?

 

In '92 & '93, I worked 12 hour MN shifts at Buoy Memorial Hospital, a small rural community facility, in Med Surge and ER. One RN covered the ER and the other the medical floor. Census was typically 3-6 patients and one time, for my 36 hour stretch, I saw one ER patient.

Needless to say, there were long idle hours. I had kept journals and sketched here and there since my high school days, but really got into drawing a lot it during this time.

The Midnight Male Ninja Nurse was conceived on Dec. 4, 1992:

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This is what I now do in my downtime:

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Thanks for asking, hungup!

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience.

1 Follower; 29,048 Visitors; 4,125 Posts

Sometimes in ICU, you might have one patient, and that patient is in the OR and will be gone for several hours.

This is where I check in with my coworkers and let them know that I am free to help them with their patient care. Basically I work as a resource nurse when I have no patient assignment. It builds goodwill with your coworkers and helps the day move along.

Every once in a while I transfer out both of my patients. Either I get floated to another department or sent home.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

2 Followers; 7,316 Visitors; 2,113 Posts

Reassess, be helpful to others, and wait, knowing that you could be slammed at any minute.

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K+MgSO4 has 12 years experience as a BSN and works as a nurse unit manager.

1 Follower; 21,349 Visitors; 1,496 Posts

I think the last time this happened on a ward was about 6 yrs ago.  Our city has grown so much and the hospital has not been able to keep up with demand.

But when it used to happen - train with the in charge (computer systems), complete elearning, open the enteral feeding cupboard (hope not to have any fall out) and tidy it, go through the belongings and meds left behind by the patients- call them and ask if they want them or dump them, clean the IV cannulation trolley out.......

 

Plenty of things....

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,273 Visitors; 9,561 Posts

When I worked Med/Surg, there was one night when we had only six patients on the floor. Management sent several nurses home except for me and one other nurse. All was well and we were even a little bored because we'd done all the busywork, so we sat and talked to stay awake.

Then, all of a sudden, the ER was inundated. They were pushing patients upstairs as quickly as they got more in, and this nurse and I were completely slammed. It was around 0400 and the house supervisor couldn't get anyone to come in early. She helped us out as she could, however, and if it hadn't been for her we'd have never made it. At the end of the shift we had gone from 3 patients each to 8. It was a terribly unsafe situation, but we did the best we knew how. Boy, did we learn not to say the Q word!

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Kitiger has 40 years experience as a RN and works as a private duty nurse.

1 Follower; 18,252 Visitors; 847 Posts

19 hours ago, K+MgSO4 said:

 

But when it used to happen - train with the in charge (computer systems), complete elearning, open the enteral feeding cupboard (hope not to have any fall out) and tidy it, go through the belongings and meds left behind by the patients- call them and ask if they want them or dump them, clean the IV cannulation trolley out.......

Plenty of things....

I couldn't have said it better. 🙂

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98 Visitors; 18 Posts

I like the comment above about organizing the feeding cabinet. “Organize” is generally my answer to any down time (at home too!). I work in outpatient care, and sometimes patients don’t show up, or don’t need a nurse, so I have a stretch of time. There is usually a stack of papers somewhere that needs to be sorted, or a cabinet in the utility room that needs to be organized. It helps that I really enjoy tidying, so I always feel like “Oh yes, that cabinet is a mess and now I have time to deal with it!”

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JLRN5555 has 10 years experience as a BSN and works as a RN.

1 Follower; 78 Visitors; 15 Posts

We are suppose to keep busy. I use down time like this to make sure rooms are stocked and if everything seems good and still have time I usually do some online CEU's. If I am not busy, first thing I do is see if I can help my co-workers because they always help me . 

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