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Elphinstone Kist   Health, Work

A Day in the Life of a Nurse     by: Gerrie, Sheila

Maist days are busy-kine bit I'll gie ye an idea o an early shift for a nurse in a surgical ward. Maistly if yer on an "early" then yer on the late shift the nicht afore. The "late" is half past one til half past nine. By the time ye've won hame and wound doon it's gie near time tae get up again for the "early". The "early" starts at 7.00. Ye've usually a fair idea o the patients and rooms ye've got tae look efter for the shift an ye can plan some o the work the evening afore the "early". In a surgical ward there's a lot o comin an gyan durin the mornin.

The number o staff ye've on a shift varies an there's usually a mix o qualified, unqualified and students. There's ayways a nurse in charge o the ward an fin I'm on shift it's usually me. The nurse in charge gets the blame for aathing her nurses dee rang an his tae be a real 'quine o pairts'. Ye've tae deal wi Consultants, junior doctors, porters, phlebotomists, relatives, visitors and onybody else that comes tae the ward an needs onything at a! An ye've got yer patients tae look efter as weel. Still that's aa the perks o the job.

Een o the maist important things that happen on the "early" shift is the ward round. This is fan the Consultant an the ither doctors come roon and hae a clek aboot the patients an fit we shid be deein wi them. The nurse gie affen kens fit the Consultant is gan tae say bit it needs tae be said onywye. The routine for the "early"is tae mak sure the drugs are done on time 8.00, 10.00 12.00 and in between times any other pain killer or ither things yer patient micht need. Ye've ayways got yer regular recording tae dee - pulse, blood pressure and temperature, maistly every fower hours. Yer patients back fae theatre hiv recordins deen every half or quarter hoor until they're stable. Ye can maybe hae up tae six post-op fowk in the mornin that need this. If there's twa theatres working then ye've mair than this. By the time the end o the afterneen comes ye've got maybe fifteen or mair post-op patients and it can be a gie tchaav. Some o them hae drips, some hae mechanical feeds, some o them hae breathin tubes an ithers an assortment o aathing! Of course ye need tae mak sure that yer patients hae a bath or shower if they're needin een.
Ye've got patients that ye need tae organise for discharge and maist times the beds barely cauld afore yer admittin a new patient tae the ward. Usually ye've tae ask the new patients tae sit in the day room until ye've got a bed for them. An they're maist times ok aboot it but sometimes they're a bit impatient an of course sometimes ye hiv tae discharge a patient real quick if the new patient is aul-kine or there's an emergency admission. There's affen fowk comin in as day cases that need to be got ready for theatre an the anaesthetist his tae see the fowk an mak sure they're OK afore they're sent doon tae theatre. There's the patients gan tae theatre that hiv been in fae the day afore. They'll hiv seen the anaesthetist an abody the day aafore an ye've jist tae mak sure that the richt patient gangs tae the richt theatre. Patients maistly hae a pre-med tae help relax them afore their operation.
In atween the hustle an tchaav ye've ayways got tae be thinkin o yer peerer patients that can bide in the ward for wiks or maybe months an it'sometimes ye dinna hae the time tae jist stop and speak wi them for a couple o meenits. Bit its real important that ye mak time for them - an it gies ye a chance tae sit on a bed an hae a natter so it dis ye a favour as weel!

Ye need tae mak sure that the staff get their breaks and I usually hae a fly cup at half eleven if Sister's nae on shift - or sometimes if she is. It's a good time tae catch up on yer paperwork an plan for the rest o the shift an ate a chocolate or twa that the patients leave ye - great! Some o the plan for the rest o the shift is tryin tae mak sure that yer work will be up tae date so ye can get awa at 3.00. Bit ye hiv tae leave the ward organised for the next shift. If ye hivnae managed tae get aathing deen ye need tae tell them so they can tak ower the work. Ye very affen dinna get awa though. If a patient his tae gang tae or come back fae theatre ye canna jist say "Oh, no, I'm gan aff shift" ye hae tae dae yer job. It's nae their wite it's come tae yer lowsin time. Affen ye need tae bide ahin an speak tae relatives, an of course that's pairt o the job as weel.

Yer maistly on a late shift or a day aff after an "early" so ye look forrit tae some time tae yersel fan ye can pit yer feet up an tak it easy.

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