A Day in the Life of a Nurse

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A day in the life of a nurse is filled with variety. Life as a nurse means meeting lots of different people of all ages from diverse communities. As a nurse you’ll provide educational and emotional support, offer patient treatments and manage records, among other duties.

nurse in red scrubs talking with patient

No two days look the same when you have a career as a nurse. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of St. Thomas, you’ll graduate prepared to work as a registered nurse (RN) in diverse settings. Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program offers online coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations at some of the most respected healthcare facilities in Texas. Our program will equip you to be a confident nurse in as few as 12 months.

So, what exactly does a day in the life of a nurse look like? Let’s review a few key duties nurses can consistently expect during their shifts.

Manage Patient Cases

Nurse daily routines involve handling patients in hospital and professional settings. Based on how each patient reacts to therapy, nurses collaborate with physicians and other members of the care team to plan and carry out patient care.

For instance, a hospital nurse might notice that a patient is not improving after a specific medication. Because nurses spend so much time with their patients, they’re often the first to notice changes in patient status. The nurse will discuss their findings with the doctor, and the care team will modify the treatment strategy accordingly. The nurse will next put the modification into practice and monitor the patient to see whether the patient improves. The nurse is an essential front-line member of the patient care team.

While designated patient case managers coordinate care between providers, all nurses participate in case management to some degree.

UST nursing student standing outside in front of building

Manage Medical Records

A crucial aspect of patient care is the use of medical records. Accurate records enable medical professionals to provide high-quality treatment while ensuring that care notes are transferred smoothly between shift changes. Nurses document every time they check on a patient, administer medication, assist with daily cares or perform a wellness check.

Today's nurses usually keep their patients' medical records electronically. If a patient is transitioning from a hospital to a clinic for ongoing care, electronic medical records make it simple to transfer their record from one provider to the next. You’ll need basic technical skills to maintain medical records, which you’ll start learning during clinical rotations in nursing school.

Nurses document patient histories in addition to the medical care patients receive. Accurate historical data is crucial because a patient's prior experiences are frequently the key to developing a successful treatment plan for a present medical problem.

Nurse putting her hand on patient's shoulder

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Take Vitals

Nurses often monitor patient status by taking their vital signs, including blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and pulse. They may measure vitals when they first interact with patients and then periodically throughout the day. Vitals give nurses and doctors a clear indication of how the patient is doing. For example, high blood pressure may be a sign of discomfort or fever may indicate infection or illness.

In a hospital environment, nurses must collect vital signs regularly, documenting them as often as every hour. Nurses also evaluate their patients visually to monitor their well-being. To rapidly identify any serious signs and symptoms or status changes, nurses develop the ability to quickly examine a patient from head to toe, even while the patient is unaware of it.

hand typing on laptop

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Give Support and Education

Life as a nurse means being very comfortable offering emotional support. Patients frequently experience fear or nerves when seeking medical treatment, particularly when dealing with major diseases or traumas. Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients, which can be helpful as patients process their diagnoses.

After a distressing sickness or diagnosis, the nurse frequently joins the patient to offer emotional support. Nurses can also provide education and clarification to the patient’s family or caregiver.

Nurses offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on while being honest with the patient. It’s no surprise that nursing has been rated the most trusted profession for 20 consecutive years.

Life as a Nurse

Those are just some of the daily duties of a nurse but keep in mind that each day as a nurse can look different. After all, as an RN, you’ll constantly see new patients with unique histories and reasons for coming to the hospital. You’ll work with people of all ages with varying personalities from different communities.

As a nurse, expect to be ready for anything, and prepare yourself to face urgent situations calmly. You’ll need to be organized, confident and knowledgeable. But don’t worry; we can help you get there through the ABSN program.

two UST nursing students working in sim lab

If a job helping people as a nurse sounds like a good fit for you, the St. Thomas ABSN program in Houston can help you accelerate your path to nursing.

Begin Your Nursing Journey Today

The 12-month ABSN program at the University of St. Thomas Houston is committed to your successes, both in school and your career, and our program prepares compassionate and capable nurses.

Our admissions counselors are here to answer any questions you may have about the accelerated path to nursing. We’ll help you determine if our ABSN program is a good fit.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you on your nursing journey. Now is the time to take the next step toward an exciting new career.