A cardiac nurse describes a typical day at the hospital
The day begins with morning report, in which the nurse working the preceding shift synopsizes the patients she is transferring to me. A typical assignment is four patients, but the exact number varies inversely with the complexity of their cases. Following that, I check their charted vital signs (pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature) in addition to monitoring their cardiac rhythm. Next, I determine what orders and lab tests are pending for my patients before seeing them to perform individual assessments.
While making my rounds, I use a PDA to see what medications are prescribed, and then administer them at the times indicated. If tests were ordered, I ascertain that the necessary paperwork was completed. As lab test results become available during my shift, I analyze them for any abnormalities that must be immediately relayed to a physician. I speak with family members who call regarding the status of their loved one, always bearing in mind the HIPAA laws regarding patient confidentiality. I assist patients moving to and from the bathroom. I consider whether my patients might benefit from physical therapy. I monitor their food and fluid intake, and investigate what factors might account for any abnormalities noted therein. I assess if the patient is able to care for himself at home or has adequate support to comply with the prescribed diet, medications, and adjunctive therapies. If I think that a patient might not receive optimal care, I request that the attending physician order a social work consultation. As the day progresses, I chart details pertaining to my patients and finally present a detailed report to the nurse working the oncoming shift.