Part Eight: Charge Nurse
I am a part-time Senior Nurse at our Leamington Hospital and generally my shift is known as Charge Nurse – this is a very varied shift and involves maintaining an oversight of the entire day’s activities. I tend to fill in rota gaps when I’m not on as charge nurse and I enjoy the variety that this role brings.
My first task of the day is to check our in-house laboratory machines – this involves carrying out quality control tests, stock ordering and making sure everything is running accurately and correctly. Our lab machines are linked directly to our client database so we need to make sure that everything is working so that the lab results go directly onto the correct patient’s records.
Next is a quick rota check – which nurses are where and who is going to need a little or a lot of my support throughout the day? Student nurses, newly qualified, new to the practice, locum nurses and have we any vet students or work experience today that need to be supervised and looked after? I take everyone under my wing.
After that, it’s a check into the all-important in-patients. Who do we have in? What is their current status, which vet is in charge of the case and is there a set plan for the day? Are the hospital notes up to date, are there any patterns/trends/concerns emerging that I need to alert the vet to? Using my 18 years of experience enables me to detect anything different or make further suggestions to help the patient.
Then we can think about the day patients and keeping the operations list running smoothly. We try to make sure that patients are admitted as promptly as possible so clients and pets are not getting stressed. It is vital that we make sure all the information we get from the owner is passed on to operating team.
As we admit each patient and settle them in our separate kennels and cattery, we get blood samples taken and processed. We also calculate and administer pre-meds and pain relief in adequate time so they are working before their anaesthetic. This role is so varied and I basically dip in and out of all departments as and when someone calls my name. Other duties involve helping with monitoring patients recoveries and making sure clients have been called and updated as soon as their pet is recovering; we know that owners are eagerly waiting for news.
In-between all this I’m tidying/cleaning instruments and equipment, running up and down the stairs to the lab, setting up for the next procedures and rotating nurses so they can have a lunch break. Once the ops list is complete we let the vets have some lunch. Then I round everyone up again so we can do a ward round as team. This is where we discuss each case in turn, establish if further client updates are needed and note any changes to inpatients plans.
Then it’s back to cleaning, sorting paperwork, assisting the other nurses with their responsibilities and making sure day patients are ready to go home. I won’t leave until I know all the patients are OK and all the nurses are happy and in control.
Friendly, Dedicated and Compassionate