Monday, January 12, 2015

day in the life.

I love reading a day in the life posts. Especially mommy blogger posts, like my sister's. I've been wanting to document a day in my nursing life for quite a while now. I'm trying hard to embrace this single season of my life with thankfulness.  I missed the link up with #NotAloneSeries but still want to share - read Jen's and Natalie's too. Here we go!

I'm an oncology nurse on a cardiothoracic surgery floor at the best cancer hospital in the world. I love being a nurse and I love my nursing schedule so, so much. We have to work six 12 hour shifts every two weeks. The shifts are long and usually end up being closer to thirteen or fourteen hours but it is so worth for the time off. On my days off, I go to daily mass, meet up with friends, grocery shop, try new recipes, read library books, walk along the bayou, and general apartmento tidying. I also have this habit of going to visit my family in Seattle on almost a monthly basis :)


5:00 - Wake up, get ready, breakfast.

5:45/6:00 - Leave for work (If I can get it together to leave at 5:45 I park at my old apartment and walk 20 minutes to work. If I'm running behind or encounter crazy weather or traffic I have to park in the $12 parking lot - obviously need to get better on leaving on time and walking because $12 is a lot of money to just be throwing away on parking!)


6:45 - Clock in, start getting report on 2-4 patients depending their acuity. Go introduce myself to each of patients, see if they need anything and double check tele/pain meds/drips/wounds/drains with the night shift nurse.

7:15-10:30 - Sit down at a computer and look up medications, orders, labs, past vital signs, H&P. I'll page doctors now if I need to let them know about patient changes or needs. Then go get meds out, assess patient, give meds, get them out of bed, discuss plan for day, make sure they order breakfast - repeat for each patient. During this time I'm also sending patients with chest tubes off to x-rays, so calling report and removing and then reapplying telemetry leads. I try to chart in between seeing patients but we paper chart (I KNOW!) and that takes FOREVER so usually end up charting my nursing notes and assessment along with the six other pages after seeing everyone. This is the most stressful chunk of my day - all the patients are calling, there are lines at the pxyis, patients are always needing to go for procedures, doctors are hunting you down with questions.


11:00 - My ideal lunch time, sometimes it happens and other times I'm eating WAY later. I bring my lunch and bask in the 30 minutes of watching HGTV. If one of my nurse besties is working with me, we try to eat lunch together.

11:45-17:30 - Do all the things. Give meds, change all the dressings, probably page a few doctors, walk all the patients, change a bed or two, give more meds. Usually discharge or transfer someone to another floor. Saltine and water breaks are a must.


17:30-18:30 - I call this the "power hour". I'm running around getting everything done before night shift comes. Finish giving all meds, charting, last walks for the day, update the shift report handout.

18:45-19:15 - Give report to night shift, I love when the same nurses come back because report is quick and easy and the patients like having the same nurses back.


Now in all honestly, everyday is different. I probably only clock out at 19:15 half of the time. Crazy things start happening in the 17:30pm region - we get PACU transfers or patients randomly start developing problems (increased oxygen needs, heart arrhythmias - all sorts of things). If a patient is high-risk telemetry, on heart drips, or on more than 6 liters of oxygen, I have to take them off the floor to procedures which changes the whole rest of the days schedule. Our floor is crazy and fast paced and I love it. We get to help with lots of hands on bedside procedures (chest tube insertions, bronchs, the occasional bone marrow aspiration or spinal tap) and critical thinking is so engrained in everything we do.


What is your favorite part of the day? When I put someone else's needs before mine. Maybe it's answering another nurses patient's call light, or letting someone go to lunch before me, or drinking chocolate milk with a lonely patient. When I look back on those moments, I feel the happiest and the most helpful. Now to do it more often!
What is your least favorite part of the day? Waking up. I tend to stay up way too late reading library books and my poor body feels it in the morning. I start feeling good about the day once I'm in the car, jamming out to my mixed CDs, drinking my required two water bottles (sometimes the only water I get during the day, eek).
Are you making any changes to your daily routine now that the new year has started? Well starting a few days ago, I made some big changes in my daily routine - now I just need to stick with them! Getting back into the habit of praying on my knees when I wake up and before I go to bed. I also am trying to be consistent with reading the Blessed Is She emails (the daily mass readings and a reflection) before or after work. I want to treat my body well too, so more whole30 eating and working out on my days off. More about these changes in another post!

2 friskies:

Caitlin said...

Reading this reminded me of all the amazing things you know how to - it kinda blows my mind when I think about how much you do each shift!!

Cortneigh said...

Wow... Paper charting? I would die and I'm only a nursing assistant. A good portion of my day is spent charting on the computer... But you def have a job that I would live to have :-)