A Day In The Life Of A Student Nurse On A Children’s Ward

05:30 Alarm goes off… I grunt and roll out of bed! *YAWN*

05:45 I always have breakfast before I start placement, as you need energy from the second you arrive! I am very precise so always have the same thing (Frosties and a glass of orange juice) but your breakfast needs to have energy/carbs in it!

06:30 I scramble my bits together as I may not have always packed my bag the night before, uniform – check, lunch – check, notepad for writing down new learning – check, pen (AND SPARE!) – check, ID card and badge – check. Ready to head out the door.

07:15 Arrive at placement and change (nurses aren’t allowed to travel in the uniform). I then go to the staff room and make sure I’m all ready for handover and to be allocated.

07:30 Handover from the night staff starts (there’s usually a lot of yawning and reluctance – never from the students though!!) We are given an overview of all the ward patients and then allocated specific patients who will be in the care of my mentor and me for the day. I will then normally discuss with my mentor which patients I would like to take leadership of caring for; I also tell them about my aims for the day and what I hope to achieve in my assessment booklet.

08:00 By this time we’ll have had our second handover from the individual nurses who’ve been caring for our patients overnight. I always make a plan which looks like a table, with timings and tasks to prioritise my day. Many patients’ medications are due around

0800-0900 so I will also log onto MedChart (digital drug chart) and check on when my patients are due meds as I don’t want to give any important ones late or miss any out.

09:00 By this time I will have settled into a routine and have finished any morning medications. The doctors will often start coming round to see how the patients were overnight. It’s always vital to go round with them to answer their questions and receive any updates or changes to how we should care for the patients. It’s hard to juggle listening to the doctors while being required to help other professionals or families, but you must ensure you spend equal time with everyone.

10:00 Normally at 10am blood pressures and other measurements are taken on our patients – some have this done more often, some less often. This normally takes 5 mins per child.

11:00 Definitely time for my break. I always bring snacks to keep my energy levels up and I take 5 minutes of my break to regroup and check my schedule/ to-do list – then I know what I need to do when I return. The staff room is always chatty and you’re never alone on your break, even if you have it at a funny time.

12:00 This signals the arrival of the lunch trolley *Bell Rings* some patients need help getting their lunch or eating their lunch, so I always like to walk the ward and check everyone is eating and has someone to help them if they need it. It is normally quieter after lunch and some of the children will head off to the hospital school if they haven’t already visited in the morning.

13:00-15:00 During this time we complete many of the day’s tasks which can include chasing referrals, meeting with other professionals to discuss the care of our patients or discharging our patients – it varies so much from day-to-day. We also write our nursing notes about the care and condition of our patients. We now do this on a computer so there’s often a squabble for access to one of our computers on wheels! At 2pm we also have to repeat blood pressure and all the other measurements again.

16:00 By 4pm its time for a second break and a main meal (I’m not sure which meal this counts as). Again, I check my list and usually plan what’s going to happen next.

17:00 It’s the supper trolley now. After supper is a bit of a rush, but often the patients are distracted by visitors or by volunteers who come and play with them and natter to them. This means we have a little bit of time to check medicines and ensure we’ve completed all our tasks.

18:00 I like to grab my mentor at this point for five minutes of feedback/discussion and see if she needs anything doing and vice-a-versa. I get her to complete the daily paperwork in my practice booklet and normally administer some 6pm medicines with her.

19:00 By now we should be preparing for handover to the night team, ensuring we are all clear on the jobs front and can give succinct information to the night team about our patients. Often you have a spare five minutes to talk to a patient or natter to a family.

20:00 End of the shift! YEY! An exhausting but pleasurable feeling. I don’t normally remember much after I leave as I’m so tired but I seem to make it home safe, ready to do it all again tomorrow…

Jamie, 2nd Year BSc, Children’s Nursing

For more information on Children’s Nursing, click here.


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