Just a Nursing Home Nurse, a Day in My Working Life
My day begins at 0530 when the alarm calls me for another day at work. Up, showered and breakfast and off I go, in my civvies as the home are washing our uniforms to protect us and our families and the residents from this awful virus and reducing the risk of infection. I drive myself to work because I can, those who normally use public transport arrive, courtesy of the homes management team who use the homes vehicle to ferry them around, again reducing any risk of spreading covid.
My working day begins with morning handover, followed by ensuring that the care staff have adequate skill mix organised, even to the point of ensuring that people of the same height work together to reduce injuries and therefore sickness. Handover is soon followed with the provision of medications for the residents in my care. This is generally complex and important part of the day but can be interrupted with calls from the care staff with issues that have arisen and need dealing with.
As Registered nurses we have responsibility for supporting the residential department and the Dementia Care lodge (which is detached from the main house) with nursing provision as in the wake of Covid 19. Sadly, we miss our skilled district nursing colleagues provided to the home, a service we expect to be resumed once we are out of lock down. Once the medications have been provided it’s off to check the diary for any jobs that need completing for the day.
We communicate and collaborate with GP’s and the wider Multi-disciplinary Team via email or telephone. There is a 10 o’clock management meeting to attend during all of this to ensure the correct information is disseminated to the staff throughout the home from all other departments. We are now closing in on our first cup of tea of the day. Break time passes and we continue to be proactive to events that are happening constantly.. acute illness, complex wounds, people who have fallen and we have become experts in supporting end or life care to name but a few aspects to the role.
Lunchtime arrives, more medication to give and then assist those who need help nutritionally and with poor dexterity to enjoy their meals. Now it’s my turn, I take my lunch break; catch up with goings on at home. After all there is a life at home and a wife who is home schooling and looking after a new born child, all without support from anyone because no one can visit and there is a 2 metre rule in force. Catch up done and lunch finished its back to it now. In the afternoon I become a father, son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend.
Supporting the residents through not seeing their loved ones and the loved ones with phone calls is vitally important.
There is a medication round to do at teatime and again assisting with the resident’s meal times. Also there is care planning to complete and update and ensure it is update and relevant on a monthly basis. We swiftly respond to any changes in resident’s physical, mental wellbeing. We also need to keep abreast of knowledge in a wide range of diseases and conditions and how they change daily and progress.
There are nutrition assessments to carry out to ensure those who cannot support themselves are getting adequate nutrition and hydration. As the day draws to a close it is my duty to ensure the residents have all received holistic care and their needs have been met. The home is tidied and cleared ready for the night staff to take over.
Ensuring that the care staff have completed their mandatory jobs, clearing clinical waste bags and fire and security checks have been completed. The day completes with a comprehensive handover to the night staff and 14.5 hours later I am finally on my way home. During my day I can be anything from the following. Friend, councillor, paramedic, (of sorts), leader manager, relative or carer, but above all I am a highly skilled nursing home nurse.
My day continues when I get home (usually just after 2200 hrs) a tired wife means I take over, if the oldest child is still up then I’ll read a story, settle them to bed and then back downstairs to assist with nappy changing, reorganizing the house and finally sitting down with a cup of tea before finally getting into bed ready to go again. The media describe those who work in care as Low skilled… what do you think?