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I wake up early, take my dog for a jog and then sip a cup of coffee while I watch the morning news. I write a blog entry for my website,
ThriveAP, which helps aspiring nurse practitioners choose a nurse practitioner program. I don’t have to be at work today until 10 which is nice. I shower,
put on some scrubs and then drive to the hospital. I work in an emergency department in Nashville, TN.
Once at work, I hit the ground running. There is rarely a slow day
in the ER and today is no exception. I pick up two charts and and immediately begin seeing patients. My first patient is a 31 year old male with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. My second is a 65 year old female with chest pain. Good start, these are very routine patients, I know exactly what to do. I head back to my desk and begin putting in orders; a chest X-Ray, EKG, labs, nitro and aspirin for the woman with chest pain, IV fluids and zofran for the patient with vomiting. I pause to review an EKG as the nurse slides it onto my desk.
As I start to document my history, physical and exam findings, I hear another chart being placed in the rack and leave my desk to get the chart and see the next patient. A 29 year old male with shortness of breath. Should be straightforward; usually males in their 20’s are fairly healthy and not complex patients.
As I enter the room, I see that I am wrong. This guy looks sick, but why? His chest X-Ray looks terrible; extensive right sided pneumonia and developing pneumonia in the left lower lung. After questioning him further, I find he is an IV drug user which could be the reason for the extensive infection. A CT scan of his chest shows he may have septic emboli and there is also concern for endocarditis. An interesting case to say the least.
I am at my desk catching up on some charting and eating a quick snack when one of the nurses asks for a provider (MD, NP or PA where I work) to quickly see the patient in room 3. An ambulance has brought in a patient with abdominal pain, vomiting and a blood pressure of 75/35. Not good. I quickly get up and go see the patient. I order IV fluids and labwork. I also notify my supervising physician that I have an unstable patient and ask him to go take a look. He confirms I have the right treatment plan and asks me to keep him updated on the patient’s condition.
Finally, 6 p.m. arrives. I have had a busy, but good day. I’ve seen 18 patients and have sutured two lacerations, drained two abscesses and admitted four patients to the hospital. This has been a pretty typical day in my life as a nurse practitioner.
I love working as a
nurse practitioner. My job is interesting, challenging and fun. I work hard, but am able to have a flexible schedule. I highly recommend a career as a nurse practitioner to anyone interested in healthcare. To learn more about becoming a nurse practitioner, the nurse practitioner profession, or to purchase the 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs from ThriveAP.com. To see the latest nurse practitioner job openings, visit