Registered Nurse: A Day in the Life

You report to the nurses' station in Ward 3, a general medical/surgical ward.

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You report to the nurses' station in Ward 3, a general medical/surgical ward. You are a generalist at a community hospital so you'll see a wide range of patients, although you have specialist nurses and physicians to call on if you're not sure what to do.

Your first patient is having a lot of pain. Following the orders on the doctor's chart, you alter the medication, carefully noting the change on the bedside records. Your next patient needs to go on a dialysis machine. You assiduously follow the required procedures, careful to avoid mistakes. At the same time, you make sure to provide some TLC to the patient.

Next, a patient is wheeled up from surgery. You check her vital signs and other indicators, which reveal that she's doing OK. So you hook her up to the appropriate monitors and insert an IV, double-checking that the medication is correct.

Your next patient had surgery two days ago and now needs to have his dressing changed and his tubes drained. It's uncomfortable for him. But you're both fast and gentle, with a reassuring manner that makes the process easier.

Finally, you meet with a patient who is about to be discharged. You teach him how to self-administer medications, and you highlight problems to watch out for, handing him emergency phone numbers just in case.