No two days are alike when you're a nurse and depending on your specialty you may be very physically active during your day, or pretty sedentary if you work in an office and sit at a desk. I have experienced both roles and no matter which specialty you work in, you will definitely exert a lot of mental energy, all day long. Heck, on most days, your brain doesn't even stop while you're driving home. While nursing certainly isn't the only stressful career out there, it is one of the only professions that deals with people's lives, every single day and this alone can be extremely stressful.
Here are some of the things most nurses will deal with during their day:
Regardless of which specialty a nurse chooses to work in, they will always be a patient advocate. This is really the number one priority of all nurses.
Some nurses provide bedside care which consists of monitoring patients vital signs, conducting clinical assessments, helping with patient's activities of daily living, collaborating with other health-care professionals who all have the same goal-to help the patient get better, or provide palliative care to the dying. The nurse may provide intense care to critically ill patients, or they may care for patients that have just undergone surgery and are recovering. Medical-Surgical nursing can be very physically and mentally draining. One of the biggest frustrations is dealing with patient's family members, who can be extremely demanding and can interfere with the normal flow and protocols you are required to follow. Nurses may also find themselves with too many patients to care for adequately, because of the nursing shortage. This can be very draining and stressful at times.
There are many other specialties that nurses can choose, and while they may not be direct bedside care, they're still an integral part of attaining positive outcomes for patients and their health-care. Case managers work behind the scenes and review charts to approve procedures. Approvals for surgeries, CAT scans and MRI's are just a few of the procedures case managers approve. They also approve hospital and rehabilitation stays for patients who may currently be in the hospital or maybe be planning a hospital stay.
Nurses can be found working every shift you can imagine, but it's common to see them working 12-hour shifts. Three-12- hour shifts a week is the "norm" for many nurses. Obviously, nursing care is not a 9-5 job, because patients need care around the clock, so some nurses may work night-shift. I worked night shift for many years and loved it. Not all nurses are cut out to work night-shift. It can be difficult to adapt if you're not the "night-owl" type. Night-shift can be a great shift to work because the atmosphere is usually much more laid back than day-shift. There is usually very little drama working nights and as soon as all the drama begins coming in at around 7 am, you're out of there and on your way home.
Because nurses experience life and death situations all day long, it's difficult not to take your work home with you when you leave work for the day. You tend to go over things in your mind and question everything you did and didn't do during that shift. This can drive you bananas if you let it. It's a good idea to find hobbies and activities that help you unwind and relax after work. This will keep you sane.
Charting is a huge part of nursing these days and the biggest rule-of thumb to charting is that if you don't chart it, it didn't happen. Because of this, it's very important to chart everything. There really is no such thing as "too much charting". Always chart while imagining a jury judging everything you write. Explain everything in detail.
Nursing involves working with physicians and this can be somewhat challenging at times. Some physicians can be quite difficult at times. Neuro surgeons are notorious for being difficult to deal with. Perhaps it's because they are technically "brain surgeons" and have pretty big egos. It could also be that they are just in a very high stress position, operating on people's brains and spines gives them a lot of responsibility and liability. Orthopedic surgeons and Gynecologists have a great reputation for being the "nice guys" in the medical profession.
Nurses routinely work entire shifts without having time to use the rest room and barely have time to eat. They often work overtime to cover for the nursing shortage. To be a nurse is to lose about ten pens a day, wait on patients and their family members so well that you feel like a maid at the Hilton. Chart till you're cross-eyed, then chart some more. Listen to physicians rant and rave about things you have no control of and the list goes on. The bottom line is this: People don't become nurses for the money, they do it for the love of the profession. Nurses are caring, empathetic people who genuinely want to help others. Those who are in the profession for money are in for a rude awakening and usually don't make it very long. Nursing is a wonderful profession. They say that "Those who do a job they love will never work a day in their life". This is so very true for nursing. If you truly care about helping others get better, or helping the dying pass away with dignity, then nursing is for you.
What do you think about this post. Please comment below!