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Career Perspectives: The Life of a Registered Nurse

At Fireside Insights, we believe the best way to learn about potential career opportunities is through exposure. In this new recurring series, Career Perspectives, we share our peers’ accounts of their jobs to give you a glimpse into different professions. Our feature this week is Rebecca Klug who received her Master of Public Health from Boston University and B.S. in Nursing from St. John Fisher College. As a registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, Rebecca gives us insight into her profession.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is a lot of patient turnover on this unit. The morning starts with assessing each patient, administering their morning medications, and rounding with the care team to determine their plan (discharge, further testing, or admission). The remainder of the day involves discharging patients and admitting new ones. Once a patient has been admitted to the unit they are reassessed throughout the day for changes in condition. As the primary nurse, I respond to those changes, collaborate with the nurse practitioners and case manager, and develop a plan for the patient.

Favorite aspect of the work that you do?

My favorite aspect is tackling a challenge. This can range from placing a difficult IV, identifying a dangerous change in condition and responding appropriately, or making a safe discharge plan for a complex patient. Each day is different and presents its own set of challenges. It is rewarding to be able to effectively respond and find solutions. Tackling each challenge, big or small, feels like a win.

Challenges faced by someone in your role?

Oops, I guess I got ahead of myself in the last question. Nursing has no shortages of challenges, and each role is different. In emergency medicine roles such as this one, you have to know a little about a lot. You see patients with a wide range of conditions, social situations, and complications. There has to be a lot of collaboration with other roles and specialties to get input on patients, certain conditions, or appropriate care practices.

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