Travel Nurse Uk - A Typical Day


At International Travel Nurse we love to hear about the experiences of all our nurses.  Mostly we focus on the ‘travel’ so we thought it might be good to focus on the ‘nurse’ for once.  We asked one of our brilliant nurses to give you a flavour of a typical day… 

 Look, you’re a nurse…  so you know what our days (or nights!) look like.  And whether you are in New Zealand, South Africa, Canada or the UK, the job is the job.  We work hard.  We work fast.  We advocate for our patients and we make sure they get what they need from whatever health system we work within.  But let’s get real.  It isn’t ever an easy job.  But the rewards are huge.  So what does a day in a UK hospital look like?  Buckle up, and I will take you on a day in the life… 

My alarm goes off at 5.30am and in the UK that means it is pitch black outside.  I miss the Aussie mornings sometimes!  When I peek out through the curtains, there isn’t a lot moving in the dull orange streetlight.  And there is no one moving inside my shared house!  I live with 3 other nurses who all work at the same hospital as me, and we are all on different shift patterns at the moment.  So I creep out of bed and shower as quietly as I can.  Which isn’t very quietly in a British Victorian mid-terrace (you will find out what that is when you get here!).  This plumbing is NOISY!  Showered, dressed, made up and breakfasted, it is time for me to head out. 

I actually really love my commute.  I bought a second hand bike a while back.  It was only a few quid and it means I have the freedom to whizz around the city without relying on public transport.  I used to use the tube, which was great and very efficient, but combining my commute with an exercise routine just works for me.  And it means I wake up properly before I get to work! 

My shift starts at 7am.  I am on long days at the moment.  Long means 12 hour.  And my shift starts with the handover meeting where the night shift brings us up to speed on each patient, their diagnosis, the meds, and any other information we need.  All of this will fall into place once I get out onto the ward, but for now, all I have to do is listen and learn. 

Next I have some time to check out the electronic records for each of the patients I am looking after today.  The hospital I work in has only just gone over to the electronic system so we still have bedside notes (written with actual pen!) but prescriptions are all online.  It’s a good idea to get your head around what meds you are going to need to deliver in your shift before the pace starts to step up! 

Today I have 6 patients in my bay, all of whom I can now go and meet.  But before I do that, it’s time for a quick ‘comfort break’.  In this job, you never know when you might get the chance to visit the toilet, so go before you need to go!  And stop by the drinking water to top up your bottle too.  Hydration is everything! 

So then it is into the bay.  I chat to each one of my patients as I check their vitals.  As usual, there is a real range of people and problems on our ward so it’s good to get to know a bit more about how they are feeling.  I update charts as I go and make sure everything is up to date for each patient. 

And then the day really begins.  Checking prescriptions. Rounds of meds.  Helping families.  Checking in with consultants.  Catheters.  Lines.  All the things we do, in between all the other things we do!   

I’d love to tell you about my lunch break.  But it is a quick noodle cup for me and then straight back to it! 

I learn a lot in this hospital.  Because it is a public health system here in the UK we see it all, and on my ward, that can mean a very varied day.  But I try to learn as much as I can from everything I see and the consultants are amazing at really involving us in the care path of the patient.  I can literally see how I add value here. 

And before I know it, my shift is coming to an end.  So it is time for handover, making sure charts are all up to date.  And then getting back on my bike! 

When I get home I find that a couple of my flatmates are actually home and we have time for a catch up. So of course, we Deliveroo some (more) noodles, open a bottle of white and chat about our days.  Usually this starts with gripes about the computer systems at the hospitals we work in, then our least favourite consultants and then the quality of the canteen food.  But we always end up laughing about the good stuff – the stuff that makes it all worthwhile. 

Before bed, I log onto my laptop to look at my next ‘weekend’ plan.  I actually have a block of three days off coming up and I going to make the most of them!  Bizarrely, one of the first people I met when I got to the UK is a girl who comes from just near me, back home.  So we are going to Brighton.  Apparently, it’s a seaside town with plenty going on, some great little indie shops, and all the nightlife.  Sounded good to us!  I check out the accommodation options and then literally start to doze off while I am searching. 

Which means it can’t be long until that alarm starts buzzing and the whole day starts again!