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A Day in the Life of an ED Nurse

A Day in the Life of an ED Nurse

With 23,348 patient visits in 2014 and that number staying steady in 2015, the emergency department (ED) at Campbell County Health is a busy place. The CCMH ED has 35 RNs—now all dressed in navy blue—to serve patients and keep their care on track. Here’s a glimpse at a day in the life of an ED nurse.

7:00 am
“Depending on the census we either start the day running or catching up on tasks. The ED is a highly unpredictable place,” says Kelly Heimer, RN, BSN. Night shift nurses pass the baton to day shift nurses, giving reports on patients and restocking supplies.

11:00 am
Guess what day is the busiest? Mondays. You might have thought Sunday as other medical offices are closed but people seem to tough it out until the week starts. The lightest time of the day? Mornings.

“Within minutes I might perform life-saving measures on a patient with chest pain, put a splint on a child with a broken ankle, and then listen to a patient as they discuss their suicidal thoughts,” says Erin Arnio, RN, BSN.

3:00 pm
Lessening patient wait times is a priority at CCMH. We’ve made progress as average door-to-doc times have dropped from 54 minutes in February 2015 to 36 minutes in August 2015: “It’s really proof that the changes we are making to improve flow and patient satisfaction are working,” says Marie Edwards, RN, BSN, Director of ED.

7:00 pm
If there was a typical day, it might look like this: “Quickly moving from room-to-room performing assessments, taking vital signs, starting IVs, drawing blood, giving medications, caring for wounds or providing education,” Arnio says.

11:00 pm
In Trauma 1 a patient is being stabilized after a serious motor vehicle accident and in Room 5 a child is receiving help breathing due to an upper respiratory infection. “The emergency department is a revolving door of new patients, each with a different problem,” Heimer says.

3:00 am
It’s the middle of the night and all is quiet, right? “Night shifts can be just as busy as day shifts. As nurses in the ED we advocate for our patients 24 hours a day,” Heimer concludes.

In honor of Emergency Nurses’ Week October 11-17, 2015, we hope you enjoyed this look at a typical day in the emergency department—although the words “typical” and “emergency” don’t often go together.

Patients are waiting less in the Emergency Department!

  • Door-to-Doc times dropped from 54 minutes in February 2015 to 36 minutes in August 2015!

ED by the Numbers in 2014

  • 23,348 patient visits
  • 4,766 injury-related cases including 1,594 pediatric
  • 35 RNs on staff with 100% certified or receiving certification in 4 emergency areas