Daily Life On A Surgical Ward

I have just successfully completed my fifth placement which was on a male surgical ward. Having spent the first four weeks of this placement block on my elective, I was on the surgical ward for eight weeks. I was looking forward to understanding the daily tasks and the routine as I haven’t experienced a ward placement so far. Below I will share with you an overview of my day!

05:30: Wake up! I get myself ready and dressed and then head downstairs for breakfast!
06:25: At this time I leave for my shift! I park away from the hospital to save some pennies so I have to allow for the 30 minute journey and the 15 minute walk in.
07:15: Arrive on the ward. I pop my things away and head to the nurse’s station for handover.
07:30-08:00: Handover time!
08:00-09:30: Medication round! At each patient we would also check through their paperwork and ensure it is all up to date, set up the IVs and assist with making beds and getting the patients washed and dressed for the day.
09:30-10:30: This hour was usually filled with ticking off things from the to-do list that were handed over for example; reviewing blood results, ordering medications or making patient referrals to other services.
10:30-11:00: Break time! I usually had a snack at this time and I really enjoyed reading my book on my break to stop me thinking about everything I had to do when I went back on shift!
11:00-12:00: Following my break I would get a handover from the ‘middle nurse’. This nurse would be responsible for following on the doctor’s round and assisting with new admissions and discharges to and from the ward. The doctors would do their round in the morning so at this time I would be updated on the plan for each of my patients. I would then check things off the plan e.g. TWOC, bladder washout, insert an NG, encourage the patient to mobilise.
12:00-13:00: Lunchtime medications! We would go through the patient’s paperwork as we went along to keep everything up-to-date and complete the fluid balances.
13:00-15:30: This afternoon period would quickly be filled with discharging patients, welcoming and observing new admissions, completing dressing changes and continuing to complete the tasks from the doctor’s plan.
15:30-16:00: Second break! In this break I would have a light meal and read another chapter of my book.
16:00-17:00: I would spend this time writing the nursing notes for each of my patients.
17:00-18:30: The final medication round of the shift. This one would usually take a bit longer due to having new patients from theatre who are having more frequent observations and need their admission packs completing. Again, we make sure that all of the patient’s paperwork is completed.
18:30-19:30: Time flies! We were kept busy with completing any final jobs, observing new patients and updating the handover.
19:30-20:00: Handover to the night staff!
20:00-20:45: Travel home tired and ready for bed!
20:45-21:30: I would catch up with my parents, pack my bag and get my uniform ready for the next day and have a shower before climbing into bed!

During this placement I developed my management skills and confidence of caring for surgical patients. I was fortunate to care for some wonderful patients and I enjoyed building a rapport with patients who were on the ward for some time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the wound care which I was first introduced to during my placement with the district nurses!

If you’ve had a placement on a surgical ward did you enjoy it? If you haven’t, I hope this offers some insight on what to expect if you are allocated to a surgical ward!


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