Grace starts her 12-hour shift at 7:00 am in a quick huddle with the charge nurse and the rest of the shift nursing staff to get fully updated with the status and details of new patients or cases that have improved or taken a turn for the worse, any unexpected changes, who needs a procedure or lab tests, and who may be ready for discharge. Before or during the meeting, she picks up her written handover reports and quickly makes a plan for her day.
After the medication count, Grace starts her first round by visiting each of her patients to measure vital signs, inspect the IV, review and adjust pain management, administer medications, check for safety and comfort, change their positions to avoid skin problems, help some patients in the bathroom or feeding them, and document it all on the bedside charts and records.
Grace takes close care of her patients, with rounds every two hours. That comes around fast. Today she started with only three patients and had time to chat casually with the first two, listening to their thoughts and concerns, building trust, and teaching them about their condition and treatment. However, three more patients were admitted during the morning, and she had to start collecting data for the nursing assessments. Time, as usual, was scarce.
Today at noon, Grace doesn't sit down to lunch and barely has time to get into the bathroom. While she's in the bathroom, a patient rings for attention.
The day keeps getting busier, and in the afternoon, between rounds, she has to give instructions on care and medication to a diabetic patient who has recovered from a urinary tract infection and is about to be released to her family. Her son mentioned an online article and asked questions about the medication. Grace thanks him for his interest, explains the drug, and promises to send him further information. The family leaves, and Grace goes into the day's final rounds. She prepares reports and goes to the huddle to brief the next shift.
In the evening huddle, she mentions that she has to find a clear, well-founded, but not too technical article or video on the medication and send it to her patient's son. Everyone is short on time, but Grace gets a little sympathetic support, and a colleague says he thinks he has something.
This is the same, day or night, just as busy. The difference is that the halls are quieter at night, almost eerily quiet, and around 3 am, many of the patients are sleeping, but that doesn't last long, and of course, not all the patients are calm and sleepy. One is still not quite out from under the effects of anesthesia and wakes up to go to the bathroom. He doesn't realize he is connected to intravenous medication. You hear the crash and rush in. He trips, falls, knocks over the support, and is confused about what happened. You and the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) help him up, disconnect the IV, help him into the bathroom, and check his vital signs this time. He is alright. You connect his intravenous, calm him down, and report to his doctor. Your few minutes of calm in the dead of night have vanished.
Another day, another story, every day is different in nursing, and of course, a day in a hospital is other from a day in a nursing home, a clinic, or a doctor's office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2021, 60% of RNs work in hospitals, 18% in ambulatory care, 7% in nursing and residential care facilities, 5% in government, and 3% in educational services.
Example Job Description for a Hospital Staff RN
Provides caring, compassionate professional nursing services, performing physical exams and assessments, nursing diagnosis, formulating a well-informed nursing care plan (NCP), implementation with ongoing review and prioritization, and evaluation. Ensures adherence to hospital policies, nursing procedures, standards, and practices.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Preparing equipment and assisting physicians during examinations and treatments.
- Assessing patients and gaining their trust.
- Monitoring the patient's vital signs and progress, taking samples, pulses, temperatures, and blood pressures.
- Administering prescribed medications, applying sterile dressings, and starting IVs.
- Writing records and maintaining confidentiality.
- Overseeing and guiding the work of junior and support staff.
- Educating and advising patients and their families on the treatment and related issues.
- Providing emotional and psychological support.
Minimum Job Requirements
- Graduate of a nationally accredited Nursing program. RN State Certification/Licensure.
- No previous experience is required.
What's the Average RN Salary?
An RN earns an average of $77,600 annually, $37.31 per hour. Nursa spells out the main factors determining the salary for each nurse, including experience and specialization.
How to Become a Registered Nurse
The Nursa post on what degree and licensing you to need to plunge into your life as a nurse explains two options: a two-year associate program in nursing (ADN) or a four-year bachelor of science program in nursing (BSN), and links to a list of 2022's top nursing schools.
Now, Get Your Job
Once you have your degree and license, the Nursa App will help you find per diem RN jobs near you, whether you are looking for work in a hospital, a clinic, or a nursing home. You can get to know the various healthcare centers and hospitals in your area working shifts per diem.