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Career Story: Registered Nurse In A Community Hospital

Registered Nurse In A Community Hospital

Job Title: Registered Nurse

Type of Company: A non-profit community hospital.

Education: BS, Nursing, University of Lowell (now UMass-Lowell)

Previous Experience: I worked as a nurse's aide.

Job Tasks: I work in an intermediate care unit at a community hospital. I am responsible for 4-6 patients per shift: caring for them, educating them on their medications and answering questions about their illness. I am also responsible for giving medications, monitoring IV drips, vital signs, telemetry, lab values, obtaining test results and making sure this information is given to the physician caring for the patient.

I need to have excellent assessment skills. These would include doing a mini-physical on each patient and writing my results in the patient's medical record. As things change with the patient -- as vital signs worsen, for example -- a lab result comes in that is at a critical level, or a patient's overall physical well being changes; I need to intervene, re-assess and report to the physician any changes and obtain orders to help correct the situation. I am the doctor's eyes and ears when he isn't around. I am also responsible for the patient's family and for helping them cope. I am also responsible for any and all needs for my patient which can include cleaning and changing them if they are unable to do so themselves. It is my role to make sure all of my patients are comfortable, pain-free and make a successful recovery.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is caring for my patients, talking to them, relieving their pain, intervening in a situation before it becomes a problem. I also like to brief my patients on taking their medications and help them to choose heathy lifestyles.

The least favorite part of my job is changing soiled linen and emptying bedpans.

Job Tips: I would suggest working or volunteering at a hospital or healthcare facility to really see what goes on. A hospital is not like "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy." Things do not get fixed in an hour and sometimes you can't save everyone.

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