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A Day in the Life of a Registered Nurse

Apr 08, 2010

So you’re thinking of becoming a registered nurse? Good for you! Nursing is an honorable and rewarding career, and it really makes a difference. Without dedicated registered nurses, the health care industry would completely fall apart – which is why over the next few years it is going to be more important than ever that people like you choose registered nursing as their career path.

Nurses generally work in 8 or 12 hour shifts, and most nurses (especially new ones) will rotate between day shifts and night shifts. This can be difficult at first if you are not used to it, but after a short while you will hardly notice the difference.

When you arrive at your place of employment, which will most likely be a hospital, you will check into the nursing desk or staff room, where you can catch up with the most recent events with nurses who are coming off their shift. The nurses may have to update you on treatments or changes that haven’t been recorded, so you will need to remember to put this information in the patient’s chart. While you are updating the chart you can check up on how each patient is doing, what test results you are expecting, and any other tests that have not yet been performed. Then you can make rounds and check in on each patient.

Every day as a registered nurse is different. Some days you may only get a few minutes with most of your patients, and you may spend the rest of your shift tending to a patient who is particularly demanding or needs your help. It is important that through this you try to balance the needs of all your patients, and ensure they are all getting the treatment they require.

Registered nurses who specialize in certain medical fields may find that their day is a bit different, although still similar as above. For instance, if you work in geriatrics (elderly patients) you may find that your day is a bit more paced, and you may end up looking at a lot of pictures of grandchildren! If you work in cardiology you may have to order a lot of tests and closely monitor patients who are in critical condition. It all depends on where you work, and what shape your patients are in.

Another big part of a registered nurse’s day is the completion of paperwork. You may need to update charts with the patient’s latest vital signs, or you may need to order tests and fill in the results. You also may need to fill out orders for supplies, surveys, order medication, write reviews or recommendations for other nurses, draw up schedules for your floor, and so on.

Overall you can expect your career as a registered nurse to be very busy. Whether you work days or nights, weekdays, or holidays, the need for health care is always present, and so is the need for qualified and caring nurses.

If you were to start the training to become a registered nurse now, in two to four years you could be qualified to become a registered nurse, and you could have your choice of jobs in some of the country’s most revered hospitals. Those who already live near a major hospital may not even have to relocate – as all health care centers are in need of good registered nurses. Think about becoming a registered nurse, if you like taking care of people this may be the perfect job for you, and it offers great pay and benefits.

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