Job Title: Registered Nurse
Type of Company: A large Catholic hospital in northwest Florida.
Education: Diploma in Nursing from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital School of Nursing, Norfolk, Virginia.
Previous Experience: I worked as a staff nurse on a medical/surgical unit in Texas and later at a surgical/trauma step-down unit in Virginia, as well as for a home infusion company and an insurance company. In Florida, I've worked for an infectious disease specialist, been a drug study coordinator, served as coordinator in a hospital admissions unit and worked in endoscopy. I currently work in the pre-surgical admissions department of a hospital.
Job Tasks: I interview patients who are scheduled for surgery, gathering information from them, usually over the phone, about the medicines they've been taking and other aspects of their medical (or surgical) histories. On the basis of these conversations, I help to decide which x-rays or lab tests they will need to undergo prior to surgery. But I will sometimes schedule the patient to see the anesthesia nurse practitioner for further evaluation, just to be safe.
On a typical day I interview 10-15 patients and order and prepare their charts. I work in an office with 6-7 other nurses and between us we interview patients (either face-to-face or over the phone) for both out-patient and in-patient surgical procedures. We have a nurse who's responsible for making sure the charts are completed and ready for the main operating room and another who's responsible for making sure the surgery center charts are completed. Our direct supervisor is the hospital's patient care manager, and she keeps the staff and the work flow moving swiftly and efficiently.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is helping patients prepare for procedures that can often be scary. But working with a great team of nurses is pretty satisfying too.
I would have to say that the worst parts of the job are sitting for extended periods of time (something I am not used to) and not participating in direct, hands-on patient care.
1.) Get a year (or more) of medical/surgical experience. Floor nursing is tough but a great learning area.
2.) Listen to experienced nurses, but filter the good from the bad.
3.) Specialize as early as you can.
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