While I’m flying the
friendly stormy skies, I’m pleased to bring you my first “Day in the Life” guest post. This one comes courtesy of Erin Tolbert, RN, FNP-C, who is the founder of Mid Level U, a blog and website dedicated to informing readers about nurse practitioner programs. Her site is a pretty awesome glimpse into NP options, and I for one will be utilizing it frequently as I apply to NP programs over the next year. Erin also practices in an emergency department and offered to share a “typical” day in her practice (is there really anything typical about ER work?).
So here you are. Thanks Erin!
Working in the ER, my shifts are usually at odd hours. Today I work 6pm to 2am which I actually enjoy as it leaves the morning and afternoon free. I spend an hour at the gym, return home to have breakfast and do a few chores around the house. I write a blog entry for my website, www.midlevelu.com/blog. Then, I meet a friend for lunch, read a book on my porch and get ready for work. Already a great day and I haven’t even gone to work yet.
I arrive at work a few minutes early and immediately start seeing patients. The ER seems to be constantly busy. My first patient is a 40 year old male with abdominal pain. I pick up his chart, go into the room and see him writhing in pain. Kidney Stones. After two years in the ER I can usually diagnose them within seconds. I order him pain medication, along with a CT scan and some lab work to verify my initial diagnosis.
My next patient is a 25 year old female involved in a rollover MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident). She is complaining mainly of right wrist pain. I remove the rudimentary splint the paramedics have placed on her wrist to examen it more closely. Her wrist is swollen, bruised and deformed. I suspect a fracture, order pain medications and X-Rays.
Then, I move on to my third patient, a 42 year old male who was doing construction on his home and has gotten a nail stuck in his left index finger. He was unable to remove it himself at home and suspects it is in the bone. I order an X-Ray to verify his suspicions and find they are correct. I then attempt to remove the nail by pulling on it with hemostats. It is stuck in the bone so deep I have to enlist help from a male physician. After successfully removing the nail, I write the patient a script for antibiotics, update his tetanus vaccine and send him home with strict instructions to return immediately if signs of infection develop.
In the ER, I never know what each day will bring. I see patients with chest pain, abdominal pain and orthopedic problems. I do procedures such as drain abscesses and suture lacerations. I enjoy the variety and challenges my job provides. I learn new things everyday. I love my job and highly recommend the nurse practitioner career.