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What will my day be like?


Hello Everyone,

I would like to know what is your day like on the hospital floor as a medical surgical nurse?

I'm actually tackling this subject - more on the ICU side of things tho.

As a former med-surg nurse your typical day looks like this:

-get your assignment

-get report from previous shift

-check on anything that requires immediate medical attention (low blood sugar, low HR, spiking temps)

-do your assessments

-grab your medications / get ready for bathing / breakfast

-pass medications


-follow-up assessments

---every hospital is different, but this is kind of the gist. This doesn't include the doctor interactions, tests that are done, and other hectic things that can occur on the floor.

Edited by AN Admin Team

I work night shift, and my night goes a little like this:

- Arrive to work, get my assignment, research patients

- Get report from previous shift (bedside if possible)

- Introduce myself to my patients and get vitals

- Perform full assessments

- Sit down and chart assessments

- Lunch break, if it's not crazy busy!

- Perform focused assessments, if necessary

- Administer early morning medications

- Help patients with morning cares if possible

All throughout these, I try to do round hourly but at least every 2 hours. I would obviously attend to anything that required medical attention as needed.

Like PP said, every hospital is different, and each shift is also different. Day shift may involve more care planning with physicians/PT/OT or other care management teams, evening shift has bedtime preparations, etc. You will find your niche as you experience each facility/shift!

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

I work on a busy cardiac telemetry unit that from a point of view is a medsurg unit. What I am about to share will mimic previous posters. I typically come in before my shift starts so I can stay on top of things easier. I get my assignments, lookup my patients and write down what our floor considers to be key data, then get any supplies that may not be in the patient's med drawer (we have a pyxis but each patient has a med drawer for stuff that comes direct from pharmacy), then setup my patient list in Pyxis, then clock in and get report from the previous shift. Then as the first response poster, handle any immediate need, then prioritize the rest of my patients for the first 4 to 5 hours (keeping in mind this can be shifting sands based on patient needs).

For day shift, it's rare to get in all five assessments then do a med pass, so I get in as many head to toe assessments as I can get in based on the prioritization. Then start the med pass; when I get to a patient that wasn't assesed, assess before giving medications. If there are no major interruptions, the AM med pass finishes between 9:30 AM and 10:00 AM. Then grab rythm strips from the monitoring room, and chart like mad with the goal to finish most of the charting by 11:00 AM. Then hopefully grab lunch before doing the 12:00 PM med pass. During the week, we have multidisciplinary rounds from 1:00 PM to shortly before 2:00 PM. There are times there's not a chance for a meal break at 11, so right after rounds is another chance. Then finish charting. For an 8-hour shift, give report from 3 to 3:30 PM, then done. Now in between it all, is rounding to check in on patients, checking for updating doctor orders; some days have new/changed orders coming in every 5 to 15 minutes which can be nerve wracking in terms of trying to stay on top of everything. BTW, if there are dressing changes or other treatments, that's typically done after the noon med pass. 12-hour shifts where I work is treated like one 8-shift and one 4-hour shift. So for the next shfit, we do focused assessments (vs. head to toe) and cover the 5 PM med pass.

Please keep in mind that what I posted as well as everyone else doesn't cover the nuances through a shift. Call bells from patients, calls from family members wanting updates, calls from the monitoring tech telling you that such and such a patient has several beats of VTach or has a heart rate in the 160's, doctors calling wanting updates, and various procedure areas calling to see if a given patient can go down for such and such a procedure/treatment. Then there's admissions, transfers, and discharges to deal with as well based on one's individual patient ratio for the day and what the unit considers to be a max.

Hi it is good to be a medsurg nurse in Indian hospital

Kuriin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience.

I am similar to pmabraham. I will do as many assessments and vitals before 8am, then begin med pass in addition to finishing up any missed out assessments. I've gotten to the point where I can do an assessment within about 5 minutes (full head to toe, looking at skin as well). I always try to chart real time, as well.

What will your day be like? I think it all depends on what type of med-surg unit you are on.

I work on a surgical Med-surg unit. I get all types of patients and have used a variety of skills. Typically when I come into work I get report. I have anywhere from 4-6 patients. I then perform my assessments and pass my medications. Remind you, there are call lights going off like crazy at this time so I assist with the call lights. After that, I sit down and chart my assessments. Sometimes, this is not an easy task when you have PCA's, epidurals, patients who have continuous bladder irrigations, NG tubes that need to be started, and chest tubes. I work nights and sometimes I don't get to sit down until close to 1 AM to complete my documentation. I absolutely love med-surg I have gained many skills working here. I would recommend that every nurse have at least 1 year of med-surg. I have been pulled to the medical med-surg and I didn't like it as much as I do the surgical med-surg. It definitely keeps you on your toes when you have fresh post ops. You also get to see all kinds of wounds and wound vac/jp drains and all. It has been a great experience for me. I think you would really like med-surg!