A Day In The Life : Surgical Nurse
The work is varied and sometimes the days are long but the rewards are worth it.
Can you describe your key responsibilities?
I have worked in a wide range of units: Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, Mental Health Ward, Neurology, Respiratory Ward and General Medicine. I currently work in the CCU which is the Coronary Care Unit. General duties include taking vital observations such as patient blood pressure. I deal with patients who have suffered from a stroke or heart attack that are rushed into the hospital straight out of an ambulance. This means that I have to be focused and on my feet when responding quickly to emergencies.
What are your working hours like?
I have day shifts as well as night shifts. I work a typical 12 ½ hour shift a day, three days in a row and then have 4 days off work. Nurses are required to work at least 7 nights a month. This is compulsory and I might be asked to take on additional night shifts, depending how busy the hospital gets. Working 7 nights in a row entitles us to 7 days off work.
Did you require further education to get to your position?
After I completed a diploma in health education, I studied Adult Nursing. After this, I undertook technical training in order to obtain the necessary skills needed to work in a certain ward.
What are the pluses and minuses of working as a nurse?
Nursing offers a diverse, challenging and rewarding career. No two days are the same - each day brings different patients who have different health issues. I like the challenging part of being a nurse. I work on a variety of wards which requires me to know a little bit of everything and pick up skills quickly. One negative is the lack of control we have as nurses. With little funding for hospitals, many wards are closing down. Nurses are constantly picked up from one ward and put into another. Our contract states that we have no preferences so we are put into whatever ward the managers decide to put us in. This is a problem when trying to give a patient the best possible help according to their specific health issue.