Nurses help prevent injury and take care of the sick and injured. However, within these parameters there is no limit to what their job profile entails. Nursing jobs are not specific to one domain as nurses’ work in clinics, hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, and sometimes even businesses of their own. Their life is not easy, and riddled with chaos.
Let’s see what a typical day in the life of a dedicated, emergency nurse entails:
In the ER another 12-hour shift starts by taking a report from the off-going shift.
The report is precise and to the point, but the words speak volumes as a nurse already knows the treatment by heart.
“Room Y is a 55 year old male passing a kidney stone, 18 gauge IV in the right arm, 2nd liter of normal saline wide open, pain free after 5mg of morphine.”
The first emergency…
While making rounds the nurse is interrupted by the Emergency Medical Services crew (EMS).
They bring in an intoxicated male, handcuffed, who requires jail clearance.
He refuses to contact his family and is belligerent to the core.
His blood is drawn to check for alcohol content and to calculate when he’ll be legally sober to let go.
Notes: His blood alcohol level is probably more than .080 – the permissible limit.
Accidental new arrival…
The EMS radio blares to announce the inbound movements of a 17 year old driver with alcohol in his possession. The airbags were deployed, patient denies pain, but is in immediate need of treatment.
With excessive bleeding from the chin and almost no teeth, he is assigned to the trauma room. The parents are informed of course.
At the same time a pregnant woman arrives at the door with baby number 3 almost born on the car floor. She is rushed to the delivery room to finish delivering the placenta. The nurse takes the baby to be monitored in the ER until stable as he was born outside a sterile environment.
And the bet is won…
The 40 year old male is detected of extreme intoxication and is released with an assigned court date.
The nurse looks at her watch to realize she still has 11 more hours to go. The vicious cycle continues to turn on an hourly basis.
What I’m trying to say…
A nurse is on her feet during the entire course of the shift. She is active and in complete control of her faculties. There are different types of nurses with a variety of nursing jobs. Their roles and responsibilities vary according to the designation. Mostly they are expected to:
- Administer medication
- Manage IV lines
- Observe and record a patient’s condition
- Care for patients
- Communicate with doctors
- Provide emotional support to the patients and their families
- Advise patients on how to administer medication themselves
- Provide information about physical therapy
- Educate the public on nutritional plans, disease management and medical conditions.
Since nurses choose to specialize in specific health conditions, types of treatment, body systems or patient populations, their duties could vary amongst specialties. Advanced practice nurses tend to work independently and have additional duties like examining patients, prescribing medications, and making diagnoses.
A Registered nurse:
- Manages health histories and performs physical exams
- Provides counseling, health promotion, and education
- Administers wound care, medications, and many other personalized interventions
- Understands patient information and takes critical decisions whenever required
- Supervises and directs care administered by nurse aides and LPNs
- Conducts research that is in favor of improved procedures and operations
RNs provide medical help in nursing homes, ambulatory care centers, hospitals, medical offices, schools, community health centers, and retail clinics.
An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse:
- Is a registered nurse who has a master’s degree apart from basic nursing education and required licensing
- Is a Nurse Practitioner (NP) who works in nursing homes, clinics, private offices, and hospitals
- Is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) who provides low-risk obstetrical and gynecological care in birth centers, hospitals, and homes
- Is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) who handles a wide range of mental and physical health problems
- Is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), which is the oldest of the advanced nursing specialists. CRNAs are responsible for administering more than 65% of the anesthetics given to patients every year
In the end…
With their uncommon schedules and unending work, nurses are applauded for their sheer grit and determination. This is one profession which must not be taken for granted. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2012-2022 decade will witness a 25% increase in the employment of LPNs and LVNs. Hence, we can see that even though a nurse goes through a grueling 12 hour shift on a daily basis, the requirement of this job profile does not lose its allure.