I chose my career precisely because it’s so varied, or can be. I’m in nursing. With my habit of loving jobs for 5-7 years and then getting bored, nursing seems like a good choice. I can work in a hospital, in a wide variety of settings and tasks, or a school, or an office, or an insurance company, or at homes. I can work via phone or in person or in telemedicine. I can work with babies, kids, adults, elders… I can do surgical or teaching or wound care or colonoscopies all day if I want to.
My particular branch of nursing at the moment provides a lot of variety, even. I’m in home health. I go to people’s houses and provide nursing care. So some days my schedule looks like this (all of these hypothetical representations, no HIPAA violations here!):
Patient A: just had a knee replacement. Go look at the leg, feel it, make sure there’s no infection or bleeding or blood clots, check all his medications, talk him down out of his tree because he thinks something must be wrong because this is the worst pain anyone ever had, teach him how to reposition the leg with pillows and rolled towels to feel a little better, show his wife how to put on his compression stockings, call the doctor to discuss better pain control options, get an order to remove his Foley catheter before his urology appointment in a few days… I’ll be making 5 visits this week to make sure that he doesn’t develop complications and his pain is controlled and he does his PT.
Patient B: was recently discharged from the hospital after her blood sugar hit 700 and she was diagnosed with diabetes. Today I’m going to make sure she can correctly draw up and inject her insulin and use her glucometer. I’m going to be seeing her weekly for a couple of months, but probably only one or two days a week, and we’re mostly going to be working on understanding diabetes better, losing some weight, and learning what she needs to do to keep her feet attached to her legs.
Patient C: just had a surgery done on his shoulder and needs IV antibiotics daily for a week. I’ll change out his IV catheter as needed, run the antibiotics and monitor him for any adverse reactions or allergies and keep an eye on the surgical site for signs of infection. He doesn’t need much teaching, this is just a temporary blip for him, so we’ll spend a lot of time talking about his favorite dog and how much the weather stinks.
Patient D: has venous stasis ulcers, and she can’t change her own wound dressings. Worse, I noticed last week that her skin started getting signs of cellulitis. So that was a bunch of phone calls to various doctors (her podiatrist, who referred me, her vascular surgeon, her infectious disease doc, her cardiologist) and pharmacy and education about antibiotics, in addition to the simple wound care I thought it was going to be.
So…observation, education, IVs, wound care, case management…home health nursing is very diverse. I often say it’s nursing like nursing is taught in nursing school, unfettered by the ridiculous time demands of hospital nursing that often prevent you from actually being a nurse.