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What does a day in the life of a nurse look like?

Hours worked on average, daily tasks.

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Deborah’s Answer

A day in the life of a nurse is dynamic and demanding, often starting with a thorough handover from the previous shift. Nurses typically work long hours, often in shifts spanning 8 to 12 hours, depending on their workplace and specialization. Their daily tasks encompass a wide range of responsibilities, including assessing patient conditions, administering medications, monitoring vital signs, collaborating with other healthcare professionals, and providing emotional support to patients and their families. Nurses also document patient care activities meticulously, ensuring accurate records for continuity of care. Additionally, they may participate in educational sessions, attend meetings, and engage in professional development activities to stay updated on the latest healthcare practices and advancements. Despite the challenges, the rewarding nature of nursing shines through as nurses make a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients every day.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. vontrell
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer! I really appreciate it. Margaret
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Becky’s Answer

Hello Margaret,

A registered nurse's life depends on her setting, specialty, hours, and whether she is in a clinical or administrative role. In general, her scheduled hours might be eight or twelve hours in a clinical setting, depending on the facility. They might also work a day, evening, or night shift. In this setting, the registered nurse assesses and evaluates a patient's disease response, administrating medications and other treatments such as ventilators, IV hydration, wound dressing, gastrostomy tubes, and utilizing devices that directly impact patient Care. Additionally, the nurse collaborates with an interdisciplinary staff team to provide Care. The registered nurse is often the Team leader and oversees ancillary staff, communicating with multiple Providers and families. The clinical setting tends to be fast-paced, quick, busy, and interactive.

In an administrative setting, the nurse provides indirect patient care, often working on projects that impact the health care system. In this role, she utilizes advanced oral and written communication skills and works with layers of staff and stakeholders. These positions tend to be eight-hour shifts, usually during the day.

Good luck with your career decisions.

Becky Rouhi, DNP
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Nikki’s Answer

Nurses can work a variety of hours depending on the type of position and setting. A lot of hospital settings have full time positions set up as 3 shifts of 12 hours or 4 shifts of 10 hours in a week, while a lot of clinics have 5 shifts of 8 hours in a week. However you can have part time positions that vary on the number of shifts required! Depending on how involved you decide to be within your position, you may get paid for educational sessions, committee meetings and things to help you grow as a nurse or help improve your department.

In my life as a nurse, I spend my days assessing patients, helping patients to perform daily tasks like showering, contacting the care team (doctors, physical therapists, social workers, and so many more people), updating family members, charting everything I've assessed and noticed, placing IV lines and administering medication.

Nurses spend the whole shift with their patients right by the bedside so we are constantly watching for changes (both good and bad) to inform other members of the team that aren't right up close to the patient all the time in order to help formulate treatment plans to help the patient. My doctor friends like to say I can read a chart but if I really want to know what's going on with my patient, I go talk to his nurse!
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Martin’s Answer

While your question is insightful, it's hard to give a specific answer due to its broad nature. The daily routine of a nurse can vary greatly based on the work setting like hospitals, clinics, home care, schools, and so on. The specialty area, such as ICU or Labor and Delivery, also influences the day-to-day tasks. In all patient care scenarios, reviewing previous care is essential. The number of patients assigned and the level of care they need will determine when you can see the patient, look at their chart, and start the actual care. This routine continues throughout the day, with charting happening in between care and at the end. The nursing skills required can differ from one person to another and can change daily. I apologize for not being able to provide a more precise answer.
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