If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to describe “A Day in the Life of a Nurse” well, maybe I couldn’t retire, but at least I could take my husband out for a very nice dinner. But last week when I was asked this question again, I really started to consider the depth of the question.
Does the questioner want to know about the day in the life of a medical-surgical RN, an ICU, ED, L&D, or IV Therapy nurse? What about a nurse manager or chief nursing officer (CNO)? How about a home health nurse, a case manager, diabetic nurse educator or an informatics nurse? But wait, there are the RNs in correctional facilities, armed services, and public health. And don’t forget nursing professors, nurse lawyers, nurse architects, nurse researchers, advanced nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists…the list goes on and on.
How could I describe “a day in the life” of all these nurses without taking up several hours when we have so many diverse disciplines within our profession? Rather than a day in the life…I would rather start with the common threads that connect all nurses. I want to explain what makes all nursing practice similar even though roles are so different. What are the common threads that connect all nurses? Here are just two. It’s our focus on the patient (client/customer), the quality of their care, and the protection of their privacy. We are all committed to care that is “safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.”1 As the largest group of health care professionals in the U.S., we are critical to the transformations that are taking place in the delivery of care across our country.2
So the next time I am asked this question, before I ask what “kind” of nurse they would like to know about, they will hear about the threads that connect us all as nurses, regardless of our practice discipline. What other common threads do you see?