Monday, 7 February 2011

The Gallery: 24 Hours

This weeks theme for Tara Cain's Gallery is "24 Hours". 

As my days when I'm not at work usually involve copious amounts of coffee and knitting, I didn't think that would make for interesting photographs.  My working day is much more interesting, however as I am a nurse, I can't take photo's of patients, or of certain things we do, due to confidentiality etc. 
My day shift starts at 7.15am, when I get the handover from my colleague in the office.

Then it's time to administer the morning/breakfast-time medications:

As a nurse, I spend A LOT of time washing my hands, so I see these sinks very frequently throughout the day.

We check every patient's "obs" or "observations", meaning their blood pressure, temperature, pulse, o2 saturation levels, and respiratory rate, at least once a day, sometimes twice, or more if the patient is acutely unwell. 

As my ward is an Endocrinology/Diabetes/General Medical ward, we do a lot of blood sugar checks, and administering insulin.  Diabetic patients are my favourites, probably because they are the most challenging.  Most appear very well on the outside, but lurking underneath that are risks of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, blindness etc.  Diabetes is one of those diseases that, when not managed well, can affect almost every organ in the body.   What I love most about diabetics though, is the foot ulcers.  My colleagues think I'm nuts, because this involves disgusting wounds.  I'm obviously not allowed to take pictures of those, but check out these pictures (WARNING, not for the easily squeamish!)
Ward rounds are a big part of our day, and you can never predict when the Consultants are going to appear on the ward.  Sadly we are not "paper free" or even "paper light" like some hospitals.  We still have patient case notes, some of which are tiny little thin things, others are big and chunky with 10 volumes, and would break your wrist when you try and lift them.
Lots of dressings are done throughout the day usually after the ward rounds, since the doctors like to look at whatever is underneath.

We sometimes take bloods, and spend a lot of time making referrals, admitting and discharging patients, and checking blood results on our ancient old computer (which likes to break down a lot). 

This is just a small selection of things we do.  Other things that couldn't be photographed are:   bed bathing/assisting with personal hygiene, bed making, lots and lots of cleaning, feeding, making time to talk to my patients, formulating care plans, organising students, hanging fluids, making up IV antibiotics, utilising fluid pumps, ordering stock and special mattresses.... the list goes on and on and on!

At the end of the day, we hand over to the next shift then head home, for a bit of this:

A nurses work is never done.

Why not check out the other posts over at Tara Cain's blog?


  1. That's a great insight in to your role as a nurse! Thanks for sharing these photos. X

  2. I was already feeling that my day was pretty mundane and then you go and post this! Wow! You do amazing stuff, you know that?!

  3. That was fascinating - thanks for that and nice to meet you! What are you knitting there - you didn't tell us? :)

  4. Excellent set of pics, fabulous insight into your day :)

  5. Huge respect for what you do and love your funky knitting wool
    Qwerty Mum xx
    Following your blog now :)

  6. Lovely insight into your role - thanks for the warning on the ulcer photos!

  7. Thanks everyone. Marisworld ~ i was knitting an iPad cover, I love striped wool.

  8. oh I like this, really interesting.
    love the knitting too.

  9. That sounds like a very busy, but very fascinating day

  10. Ooh, I love the last one...whatcha makin'?? ;)


  11. I think nurses are fab. My SIL is one and if I ever get sick I hope I am looked after by someone like her (and probably you). Keep up the good work :)

  12. Aww thanks Tiddly!

    Karin, I'm making an iPad cover.


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