This is part one in a blog series from internist, Dr. Jeffrey Bui who spent a day at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center walking in our nurses’ shoes.

Dr. Jeffrey Bui

Dr. Jeffrey Bui

Before my experience shadowing nurses here at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, I felt like I had a strong understanding of what comprised a nurse’s day. I have seen the daily hustle and bustle of the nurses making rounds, entering and exiting patient rooms. I thought I knew the extent of a nurse’s day, but I was wrong.

My shadowing experience began at the conclusion of National Nurse’s Week on Friday, May 13 during change of shift with beside sign-outs. I was amazed by the detailed bedside endorsements and the extent to which the nurses knew their patients: from what to expect after discharge to specific personal preferences of the patient. This was followed by a full assessment, including a thorough physical examination of each patient. This attention to detail continued for every patient assigned to the nurses I followed that day.

Before I knew it, my head was spinning with the hectic morning medication administration ritual. Every patient had medications due at the same time every morning. It is not just one pill, but a myriad of pills, intravenous medications, injections, patches and the dreaded PEG tube medications. Each medication has to be scanned prior to administration along with the patient’s wristband to ensure correct medications are given to each patient. During this time each medication is discussed with the patient and the nurses take their time to answer any and all questions. The most amazing part was despite all the interruptions that regularly occur in a hospital setting, the nurse was never distracted from her patient.

We visited each patient numerous times throughout the morning, going from room to room, answering patient calls, administering medications, assisting, assessing and caring for patients. We addressed all of our patient’s needs, concerns and questions. I witnessed the instant trust nurses were able to build with their patients, easing their fears and concerns. I repeatedly saw how nurses regularly put their patients first, not even taking a water or a bathroom break for themselves. The amount of responsibilities each nurse embraces is enough to make my head explode. I am not sure how nurses do what they do. Every day is truly chaotic. I witnessed this on several units that morning and can honestly say I am very proud to work with such an amazing team.