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A Day in the Life of a Nurse in a Care Home

If you’ve ever considered a Nursing career in care but wanted to know more about what’s involved day to day, then this is the blog for you. There are a lot of misconceptions about working as a Nurse in a care home and we want to show you why working in care can be a great option for you. We spoke to some of our dedicated Registered Nurses to find out what a day in the life of a Nurse in a care home is really like.

‘In a hospital the patients are in and out, usually after a short amount of time.  In care, you get to know each resident on a different level, you hear about their lives and personal stories. You build friendships and have a laugh with them, they really do become like extended family.’ Leanne Burrows, Dene Place Care Home

Start of the shift 

Handover and allocation

The first call of the day is to get the handover from the Nurse on the previous shift. They’ll provide you with crucial updates on our residents, highlight any concerns raised during the previous shift and inform you of any requests from our resident’s families.

You’ll then update our care teams with everything they need to be aware of and allocate residents to the team; they will be responsible for the care of these residents for that shift.

Check in on our residents

You’ll visit our residents going room to room, check in with them, have a quick catch up and make sure they are okay. For residents with critical care requirements, e.g. diabetes, you’ll attend to these residents straight away and provide care or medication as necessary.

Check the diary

It’s important to check your diary and familiarise yourself with the priorities for the shift. If you’re working days you’ll check if there are any meetings booked in, check any outstanding requests with GPs and follow up on medication requests.

Throughout the day

Medication Rounds

There are medication rounds you’ll be required to complete throughout the day, usually 3 times but this can vary depending on the specific needs of our residents. You’ll prepare the medication trolley and distribute medication to our residents ensuring you check the register and work in line with the medication policy.  During these rounds you may also be required to:

  • Provide pain management
  • Distribute Supplements
  • Peg feeds or medication via Pegs
  • Blood Rounds
  • Wound dressing changes
  • Patch applications
  • CD drugs – at times this may require the support of a colleague
  • Application of creams – ensuring the care team have completed this
  • Catheter care including insertion
  • Syringe drive use – end of life care
  • Providing injections as necessary
  • Provide individual nursing care to residents who have specialist care requirements
  • Tracheostomy
  • Venepuncture

During or after your medication round you will ensure that all the daily notes and supplementary files are completed as necessary.

‘It’s nice to know when you finish the day that you made a real difference to your residents. You might have noticed a change in their health that no one else has noticed, things like that can be so important.’ Lily Makhanya, Fountains Lodge Care Home

Daily observations

Visiting our residents going room to room to ensure they are safe and comfortable is an important duty throughout the day. This might involve:

  • Checking with the care team to ensure our residents are hydrated and drinking enough
  • Ensure catheters are draining well and that the care teams are emptying the bags correctly
  • Review daily notes and repositioning charts to ensure these are up to date
  • Take note of the care team’s observations regarding changes in skin conditions, bowel movements and provide care as necessary
  • End of life care – for residents in end of life care you’ll be required to ensure their condition is monitored regularly throughout the shift, manage any pain and provide urgent care as required

Resident of the day

In addition to the daily care provided, at Bupa Care Homes, we have a resident of the day. You’ll check their medication, weight and vital signs (as necessary) and ensure any changes in their health and wellbeing are recorded.  You’ll be required to update their supplementary files, review each section of their care plan and make any necessary updates or changes.

GP rounds

You’ll be required to attend the GP rounds, updating them on any significant changes in the condition of our residents. Following the rounds, you will need to ensure all notes are completed including professional notes, supplementary files and update care plans as necessary.

Liaising with external healthcare professionals

In addition to attending the GP rounds you will be required to liaise with all external professionals regarding the care of our residents. You might seek advice, support, highlight any changes to and update the following:

  • Community matrons
  • Nurse specialists who support our residents managing long term conditions
  • Pharmacies – you’ll request medication, update them on any changes following GP rounds and chase repeat prescriptions
  • GPs – if medication changes are required, you are concerned about a resident, if any covert medication is required or if any referrals are required
  • Dieticians
  • Physical Therapists
  • Speak and Language Therapists
  • Social Services
  • Mental Health Services
  • CHD Teams
  • Quality Assurance Teams

‘You get to go home knowing that you have helped someone, that’s a reward in itself.’ Leanne Burrows, Dene Place Care Home

Meetings

Attending meetings both with internal employees and external healthcare professionals is a key part of your role. These meetings are usually diarised and you’ll check at the beginning of your shift if you have meetings scheduled in for that day. There are times that you’ll be required to attend last minute meetings should any of our resident’s families need to speak to you or if there are any adhoc visits from external healthcare professionals.

At Bupa, we have a daily meeting called a ‘take ten’, this is where you’ll highlight any clinical concerns, discuss issues/compliments and any upcoming appointments. You will then cascade these to the wider care team.

You might also attend internal meetings with members of the wider team and our care teams. Depending on the home, these meetings could be daily, weekly or monthly. You might:

  • Meet with the care team to discuss any issues or concerns they have regarding our residents
  • Meet with the wider team and other heads of department to provide updates on our residents, discuss workloads within the home or relay any requests from our residents’ families

Liaising with families and residents

Keeping in touch with (and updating) our resident’s families, ensuring you involve the residents themselves, is important. Any requests will need to be actioned and any concerns they may have must be responded to. You will need to ensure that all verbal and written correspondence is recorded or updated to ensure that the whole team has access to this information should you not be in the home. It is also important to involve residents and their families with all decisions relating to their care and treatment.

‘Even after residents are no longer with us, sometimes the families come back to visit you.  They’re so grateful that you were there for their relatives and it’s such a lovely feeling as a Nurse knowing you had such an impact.  You don’t often get that in other areas of Nursing.’ Patrycia Mikos, Collingwood Grange Care Home

Paper work and admin duties

You’ll notice that paper work comes up a lot throughout the day. Completing this and documenting updates on our residents is essential. It allows a smooth transition when handing over to other members of the team and it means that the on-going care of our residents can be monitored. It’s crucial to ensure that we monitor any existing conditions, their general health and wellbeing and take any necessary action when care is required. You will review, sign off, amend and update the following:

  • Care Plans
  • Supplementary files including fluid and food, stool and repositioning charts
  • Daily notes – if working nights, you’ll record updates on our resident’s sleeping patterns throughout the night
  • Resident records, including information about their weight, BMI and overall condition of health
  • Medication records – this will include checking the stock levels in the fridge and medication cupboard and replenishing the stock as necessary
  • GP appointment records
  • Moving and Handling records
  • Risk Assessments

If you’re working nights, you’ll need to counter check all the notes and files and complete anything outstanding that has been handed over to you from the team working the previous shift.

Provide support to the care team

Our care teams are amazing, and they will have the daily care in hand, but it’s essential you provide continuous support to them throughout the day should they need it. Depending on your work load each day you also might:

  • Support at meal times – assist with feeding, ensure food supplements are provided and that food is pureed as necessary
  • Support with transferring residents to lounge areas, meal times or activities. This might involve supporting them to walk, transferring them in a wheelchair or using a hoist
  • Support the care teams with all personal care duties – it is crucial that you monitor their skin conditions and ensure that you are seeing our residents regularly
  • Training with the team – this might include things like infection control, moving and handling, skin integrity and GDPR. You’ll ensure their knowledge is up to date, answer any questions and deal with any queries
  • One to ones – you might support the team by covering one to ones with our residents

Emergencies and critical care

Throughout the shift there may be emergencies or urgent care that will require your immediate attention. If you’re working days, there will be a manager or clinical manager on shift to support you but if you are working nights you will be responsible for dealing with the emergency immediately and notifying your manager. This might involve:

  • Ambulance calls – if any residents require urgent care
  • Contacting the GP or community matron – this might be during the day or out of hours. Depending on the condition of the resident you may be required to monitor them regularly throughout the day or it may require the GP to visit

‘People might think that working in a care home is easy, but it’s not.  There is a lot of responsibility, you don’t have a consultant to fall back on in care,’ Hayley Garner, Sandhills Court Care Home

Handover

You’ll handover to the team on the following shift ensuring all the paperwork is complete. You’ll provide the team with crucial updates on our residents and highlight any concerns raised. If you’re handing over to night staff, you will inform them of any outstanding duties or paperwork that they need to pick up urgently.

CPD and training

At Bupa we’re lucky to have our own clinical trainers, they run courses and workshops to ensure you learn new skills and keep your core Nursing skills updated. You’ll attend regular CPD and at Bupa, you don’t have to look very far for opportunities; from online learning and podcasts to getting involved with working groups; fragility, falls etc. There are plenty of ways for you to keep your skills up to date – in line with best practice.

You’ve made it to the end of the shift!

Are you still with us? Great! Let’s tell you about the shifts. You’ll be required to work 12-hour shifts starting from 7am up to 8pm depending on your location. Bupa can offer either days, nights or a mixture depending on your preferences and the home’s availability. Some homes may require you to come in earlier to provide a handover while other homes complete this within the usual shift times.

We believe it’s our privilege to look after people, it’s why we value our Nurses and make sure you feel appreciated for all the hard work you do. It’s also why we support your ambitions, giving you autonomy to practice, offering career development and ongoing CPD – enabling you to work at the top of your profession. With a culture that encourages you to be completely yourself and to care about the wellbeing of others, you’ll enjoy a truly rewarding Nursing career, as part of our Bupa family.

Want to know more? Let one of our team call you to discuss your new career at Bupa, visit https://www.bupa.co.uk/careers/nurses, leave your contact details and let us do the work. If you want a taste of what it’s like to work at one our of care homes check out our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/BupaUKCareersOfficial/).

‘Your input can really impact someone’s life and that’s special. It’s an amazing job, I wouldn’t change it for the world.’ Hayley Garner, Sandhills Court Care Home

Some more great blogs from Bupa

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A day in the life of a care assistant

A day in the life of an activity co-ordinator

Considering a career in care?