The first alarm of many starts bleeping as I struggle to open my eyes. The snooze button is pressed. The second alarm rings, then the third, then the four! Its now 0545. I open my eye and realise I’ve snoozed for far too long and its time to get myself out of bed and into the shower.
Dressed and looking respectable, I collect my lunch from the fridge and pack my bag. I leave early on morning shifts so I have time to get coffee on my way. This is the first of many throughout the day. Whilst driving to work I think about my day and what it will entail. Often, I get a rush of anxiety thinking of worse case scenarios! I then reassure myself that I will not be alone and that there is always help if needed.
I arrive to work and head to the nurse’s station to prepare for handover. I like to arrive a little bit before handover starts so I can see who I am caring for in my shift. This gives me time to look at the handover sheet so I can read about the patients before the shift commences.
This time allows me to look up certain diseases and medical terminology so I don’t look so confused at the bed side handover. Let’s be honest, as new grads we aren’t to know every abbreviation and medical term. I remind myself it is ok not to know.
The morning huddle takes place in the nursing station. The AM nurse’s and the coordinator are present along with the nurse manager and the coordinator of night shift.
Huddle is complete. I find my buddy nurse and we head to the patient’s bed side for handover. At this point I always ask my buddy nurse if they would like me to complete the time planner.
Hand over is complete and our time planner is full. Time to commence the 8am medication round.
As we team nurse at JHC, we share the responsibilities and duties throughout our shift. I will start at one end of our section of the ward and my buddy nurse will start at the other. We work together when checking our APINCH medications and schedules S4Rs and S8’s. As a Graduate RN you can finally hold the RED keys to administer scheduled medications. It’s all so exciting holding the keys for the first time and being allowed to write in the scheduled books.
By this time you have hopefully finished your medication rounds and helped patients set up their breakfast. That’s if everything has gone to plan!
However, in nursing things don’t always go to plan. I walked into a patients’ room to administer morning medications and realised the medication I need is not in the patient’s cupboard. I had to order it from pharmacy.
Time to help patients with showering, dressing and making beds.
I walk into a patient’s room to help assist them with a shower which I thought would take no longer than 15minutes. However, it took much longer, 45minutes later I was moving on to my next patient. You can never fully predict a day on a ward or control your time exactly how you plan, as some things are out of your control when a patient’s health can deteriorate very suddenly.
Time for observations. As well as Blood pressure, temperature, pulse and respiration rate, I conduct a range of Neurovascular, Neurological, Chest drain, urinary catheter observations and checks to name a few. I also administer PRN analgesia to two of my patients as they state having pain now they have gotten out of bed.
YAY! Coffee time. I get the opportunity to catch up with another graduate and compare notes .
I start looking at patient care plans and health assessments.
I make sure all health assessments are up to date and are relevant for the patients needs. I believe a patient would benefit seeing a physiotherapist due to altered mobility so I follow up with the physiotherapist on duty and arrange for a reassessment. I also take this time to complete any wound care plans that may need attending too. I also order patient mediations that are low so the next nurse does not have to worry later in the day when pharmacy is closed.
During this time, I also write in my patient’s progress notes and read any new information regarding their plan of care.
Pre-lunch BSL’s and the 12 o’clock medication round is to be completed. I check if the doctors have been round and charted any new medications or IV fluids. Or if a small pathology form has been slotted into the patient’s bed side file.
It’s time for me to have some lunch. I make myself another coffee and warm my meal up. I sit down and can only think about what else I need to complete. Or if I have missed anything throughout my morning.
I do a round to make sure all my patients are ok. And ask if I can assist them with anything before, I hand over to the afternoon staff. I check all the patients bed side files to ensure I have not missed anything.
Time to handover the patients at the bedside. I always get extremely anxious at this time as I fear I will be asked questions by the other nurses that I can not answer. Or they will pull me up on something I may have accidentally over looked during my shift but in reality this doesn’t happen.
Time to touch off.During the drive home my mind replays my shift. I reflect on certain tasks or challenges through the day and question myself on what I could have done better or different.
I arrive home and commence mummy duties for my two children. I feel physically and emotional drained after a day’s work but still continue to care for my family. I sit and help my children with their home readers, whilst thinking about what I am going to cook for dinner and pack for lunches.
Once homework and dinner are complete the bedtime routine starts. Bath time followed by a movie and cuddles with my kids. This is where my relaxation starts. However, I sit and run through my day at work and question whether or not I completed a task correctly or if I had changed the dressing that I was meant to change.
I put my children to bed and complete any house work that needs attending too.
I am exhausted! Ready for a good night’s sleep.
Take home message;
Communication is key, talk to your buddy throughout your shift and never ever feel afraid to ask for help. Other nurses are there to help guide and support you. You are not alone.