Whether you’ve been a band 5 nurse for some time, or you’re a newly qualified registered nurse entering the banding system for the first time, you may be interested to know what a typical day in the life of a nurse is like. Every day is usually very different as a nurse, so picking a typical one can be quite challenging! But we asked our network of experienced nurses to find out what a typical day looks like for them to give you some insight into their amazing work.
What do nurses do on a typical day?
5am – Get up
Many nurses are already up and at ‘em by 5am as day shifts start at 7am. So before many working people have even hit snooze on their first alarm, nurses are up, dressed and out the door.
7am – Handover from the night shift nurse
Most typical day shifts start with relieving the nurse and conferring with them on any updates on patients, admissions, or general information they’ll need for the day shift.
8am – Morning rounds
In the morning, each patient needs to be checked on and their status needs to be recorded. This is a time when blood tests are done, blood sugar levels checked, or anything else of urgent status is completed. Medication will be administered, and patients will be helped with any ‘activities of daily living’ (ADL) they need assistance with, such as eating, using the toilet and general mobility. This can be a particularly busy part of the day for a nurse!
12pm – Lunch break (if you have time)
Nurses often have to grab lunch when the opportunity presents itself, but it’s a good idea to ensure you have 10-20 minutes (minimum) away from the ward to recharge and get some food and hydrate yourself.
1pm – Afternoon rounds
Afternoon can be an equally hectic time for nurses, many patients who were admitted in the morning might be ready to be released at this point, with more being admitted at various points during the morning and afternoon rounds that will also need attention. This will mean further rounds of medication, catching up on charting, and any status updates as needed.
Either in the morning or afternoon shift nurses will need to make constant use of their ‘bed side manner’ and people skills. Nurses will need to educate their patients (and often patients’ families) on their diagnosis or medication usage post-discharge. They may have questions that need to be answered and some comforting if the diagnosis is difficult to cope with. It’s an important part of every day as a nurse.
6pm – Set up for the night shift
At the end of the day, a day shift band 5 nurse will need to assess everything that has been done, ensuring everything has been documented properly and made ready and understandable for the night shift nurses to take over. This includes double checking charts and other relevant documents. There will then be a physical handover and briefing for the night shift nurse to go over anything that needs to be urgently completed or monitored overnight.
At this point, when everything has been wrapped up and handed over to the night shift nurse, the day shift nurse can go home and get some much-needed rest! Then from 5am the next day the cycle begins again…
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