Working in healthcare can be extremely rewarding. After all, many nurses will tell you that they got into nursing to help other people. Many nurses especially new nurses are unaware of the their career options once they graduate nursing school. Many believe they have to work at the bedside. Well, I am here to tell you that is not true and you have options.
Today, I wanted to talk about what I currently do for work as a registered nurse working away from the bedside. My current role is a clinic nurse working with patients who suffer from asthma and allergies. To make it simpler I work in a physician office who specializes in asthma and allergies. So what do I do to fill the role as a registered nurse? I’m gonna give you a little snippet of what my day consists of. Please keep in mind that depending on the clinic a nurse works in will determine her role and her day will look different than mines.
My job is a Monday through Friday job. I love that I no longer work holidays or weekends! I start my day off by prepping the office and exam rooms. This consists of turning on lights, making sure the tables have paper and making sure the rooms are stocked for the physician. Every morning I also have to calibrate the spirometery and Feno machines. Quick little information into what these machines are. Spirometry is a common lung function test. It is used to measure lung function, the amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled and how quickly one can perform it. A FENO machine stands for fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide. It measures inflammation associated with allergic or eosinophilic asthma. Once the patient rooms are prepped and the machines are calibrated I then move onto reviewing my daily schedule.
I always review my schedule so I know what the day will look like. We run two schedules. First, the doctors and second our injections which is the nurses schedule. The doctors schedule is usually filled with new patients, follow-ups, challenges and allergy skin testing. So when a patient comes into the office I will enter the patients room and find out why they are at the office. It is helpful to try and review their charts prior so you have an idea for the the purpose of the visit. If they require lung function tests then I will also complete that prior to them seeing the physician. The daily schedule is always different. The nurse performs any testing the physician requests. We also perform challenges and these can be to food, venoms or medications. While running the physicians schedule the nurse also completes the injection schedule. This consists of patients coming in for their allergy injections or biologic injections. As a nurse working in a clinic you need to practice time management. The nurses are balancing two schedules and the goal is to keep the office running as smoothly as possible.
Here is a breakdown of the testing, procedures and general things the nurse performs:
– Room patients: measure vitals, review medications, document symptoms and problems.
– Perform lung function tests.
– Administer allergy injections and biologics. Allergy shots are also called allergen immunotherapy. They are injections that contain a tiny amount of the specific substance or substances that trigger that patients allergic reactions. They decrease the sensitivity the patient has to those allergens. Biologics are used to target the underlying molecular causes of asthma.
– Perform allergy testing: skin prick or intradermal. Intradermal is completed on patients with venom allergies, antibiotic allergies, immunization allergies. It is done to see if they have a true allergy. The nurses must monitor patients for reactions and any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis.
– Oral challenge: patient eats an increasing amounts of whatever you are testing for while being monitored. This is to certain foods but can also be to medications.
– Patient education: proper use of different inhaler types, epi pens, allergy education
– The nurses also do phone triage, medication refills and prior authorizations for patients.
As a nurse, you have the opportunity to pursue a career in many different settings. Finding the right place for you may take some time. Make sure to pick a position that inspires you to want to go to work and care for your patients. Patients need nursing care in many aspects from inpatient care to outpatient care.