Published Sep 26, 2017
I thought it'd be fun to talk about our respective units, how our shifts normally work out and whether or not we float to other departments and if we enjoy it. Because, why not? :)
I work on the orthopedic/plastics floor. Half the unit is reserved for elective surgeries such as total joint replacements and breast surgeries, while the other half is more of an orthopedic trauma/surgical with lots of fractures. Usually car accidents, falls, etc. It can be quite a bit of heavy lifting, especially when patients have external fixators or they are left immobile and require us to turn them to prevent pressure wounds or purely for comfort.
We do vitals q 4 hours on all our patients (all post-op, trauma and telemetry patients require it), so on my shift it would be 2000, 0000, and 0400. I do ice waters and ice packs at 2000 and 0400, while I empty my trash and linen hampers at 0000. If I'm working the elective side of the unit, I am responsible for making sure all our total joint patients are dressed in their own clothes (or pajamas) and that their foley catheters have been removed by the time I leave at 0700, because physical therapy starts right after breakfast at 0730.
I have floated to different units only a couple times and it was an interesting experience. Once to a medical floor that reminded me an awful lot of my days at the nursing home. Checking vitals once a shift, turns, changing incontinence pads, etc. The other time in recent memory was to the cardiac unit. That was a whole different ballpark. Every one of my patients were physically capable of everything: going to the bathroom, ADLs, everything (they said it was a freakishly good night that night)! I had to do vitals every 4 hours like on my home floor (since they were all on tele), but everybody needed to have their standing weight taken at 0400 which threw me through a loop! This was tough to do since the entire unit (with 40 patients) only has two scales.
I wouldn't mind floating again, but I do love my home unit where I have my routine down pat. Haha.
I work in the emergency department and I get to do a lot of skills, and lots of assignments as well. A lot of the nurse aids in our department sit with psychiatric patients, other assignments include working with acute patients and going into traumas, checking in and helping place patients in rooms, and assisting in the pediatric section of the ED.
I work on a respiratory care unit. We have a lot of total care patients, so unlike the rest of the hospital we don't walk all our patients every morning (why would we force patients to get up and walk between 3-5am anyways?) on my unit we are responsible for half our unit baths, vitals Q4hours (unless otherwise noted as either do not disturb 10-6, Q shift vitals, etc. Once had a lady who was a "no vitals at 4 am"). We are also responsible for toileting and cleaning up incontinent patients. Day shift has to get I&Os (so glad I'm nights!) and feed patients who require assistance. Most of us night shift techs (PCT, CNA, etc whatever) prefer to be left with the total care patient baths and LOVE when day shift let's or makes a self care patient get in the shower so we don't have to wake them at 5 am to get washed up because more than likely they wanted to wait until the next morning like everyone else.
I'm sorry for my rant about baths, but it's become a battle between days and nights as to who will do the LEAST amount of baths. I LOVE getting pulled to sit (especially if it's a confused person who wants to stay up and chat or watch TV all night) and I'm the sitter that'll actually TRY to get confused people to sleep. If it's 2 am and they're still up, then I'll leave it be, but from 9pm that TV is off and the lights are off or dim enough to where I can still read my clipboard and see them (if they're suicidal). I've never been pulled to tech on another unit and it looks like it's too late now since I've got 2 more scheduled shifts before I start my RN job (and being pulled to tech from my unit is REALLY rare).
I work on a Med/Surg floor that also does ortho surgeries as a Nursing Aide. We don't get to do vitals, and basically we do rounds every 2 hours, pass out snacks/ water, and basic care including positioning, toileting, and bathing. We also might occasionally be sent to other units for 1 On 1s and to help in the ED (where we do vitals). Overall I love my job, and I've learned so much! It's giving some basic care skills while in nursing school.
Hannah13Banana, ASN, RN
I work as a Nursing Asst/CNA/PCT (whatever you want to call it) in my Hospital’s ICU. It’s an adult medical ICU. I typically have 4-6 patients per shift, and I assist with ADLs, take vitals, CBGs, 12 lead EKGs, turn patients, record i&o, participate in/assist with bedside procedures and nursing tasks, and participate in codes. I’m occasionally responsible to “sit” with a patient 1 on 1 if no sitters are available. Sometimes I float to our tele or med surg floors and even one time I floated to the ED. I love the high acuity of my patients and the fast pace of my work environment and how I get to be involved in tasks/perform skills that are normally in the RN scope of practice. It’s great practice and experience for my nursing career!
CrunchyEvenInMilk, BSN, RN
I work ICU as well. Specifically, trauma ICU. We aren't assigned to patients, we're assigned to the floor, so we help all of the nurses on the unit. We don't take vitals since our patients are continuously monitored. We help with a lot of procedures like arterial and central lines. We also do EKGs, labs, help with caths, IV starts, dressing changes, and whatever else the nurses/doctors ask us to do. Hoping to stay here once I graduate!
I'm a Dialysis Tech on the Acute Unit. I work overnights (7p-7:23a), so it's pretty slow most of my shift. When I get to work, I check the unit to see if there are patients still running dialysis and how long they will be there. As long as patients are on the floor, the water quality must be checked every 4 hours. Then I get a list of "travels" where nurses go to the patient's room or to ED to do dialysis and I go help them with machine set up or to bring the machines back at the end of the treatment.
Working nights, I don't get to use my skills much. I will insert dialysis needles every now and then. I love to be sent to other units to draw blood from a patient's fistula or graft. Most of our patients are in the Critical Care Hospital (CICU, MRICU, etc) so I get to see a lot of different things. I try to help out when I'm there if a patient needs to be turned or changed. The nurses are usually surprised that I want to help (I don't have to because I'm not considered a Care Partner and I'm really only there to set up for dialysis), but I like to do it. I feel like I'm missing out and not using my skills. I don't want to be the dummy in clinicals lol. I've asked if I can shadow or fill in/PRN in Psych because that's my goal after nursing school, but I think going to one of the ICU floors or ED would be more beneficial.
I am a PCT in the NICU currently.. but honestly 100% of my job is unit secretary stuff. I wish it was more PC but for obvious reasons they are RN-only, really.
I am almost done with nursing school, and just sat for LPN board and passed, so trying to decide if I want to stay on as a NICU PCT (not for $ but for the foot in the door) or find something as an LPN now (higher $, lose the foot in door at NICU).
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