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  • 09 December 2014
  • 6 min read

Gabriela is a surgical ward nurse and this is her job

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    • Racine Morgan
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  • 15996

Gabriela Parvu describes a typical day in her job as a Ward Nurse on a surgical ward.

What exactly does being a theatre nurse involve? Read Gabriela's account of an average day for her working on the surgical ward.

Wake Up

I get up at 5:30 am and find my way to the kitchen, eyes half closed.

The coffee machine's already on and a piece of toast is on a plate for me.

Bless my husband. He just left for work and he’s left me breakfast.

I take a quick shower then blow dry my hair (it's minus 2 and I don’t want my hair to freeze on the way to work).

I dress, grab the car keys and go.

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In the hospital I change into my uniform and head for the surgical ward where I’m welcomed by a familiar scene; busy staff nurses and care assistants.

Everyone’s smiling even though they’re probably all tired after a night shift.

The shifts are 12 hours long with handover at quarter to 7.

Handover means walking on the ward and seeing every patient. If you’re the one handing over you have to describe everybody's condition to the colleague you’re handing over to and inform them about any investigations that patients need to have.

If anyone has an operation today, that must be noted too.

I ensure all patients have a wash, are comfortable and that all carers know the diet for each patient.

It’s important to make sure nobody lies on their drain (tube) and that the tubes are free from obstacles and are permeable.


It’s a gorgeous bunch of carers on the floor today.

They’re all girls who know exactly what they have to do. I can rely on them and I know the job will get done.

Today is going to be a good day!

It's really important that all members of the team work together as one.

I have to be sure that everything gets done when it's meant to be done, and done correctly. That way everyone, including us, is safe.

We give our support to the carers every time it's needed. Just as the doctors help to support the nurses when we need it, the nurses must support the care assistants.

We need to move together as one to ensure that the patients we are responsible for receive the precise care they need.

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There are two herniated discs to be repaired and a gallbladder to be removed today. There are a few drips still on and I need to give an insulin at 8:00.

I need to set the watch to beep for that.

I look on patients’ charts and make a list of the investigations they have to be sent to. I write down the time for the three operations noting the patients that will need to have their catheterisation removed.

I fill in the charts and write down the amount that has been collected by the drain in the collecting bag for patients that have been given an abdominal drain during their operation.

The surgeons walk on the ward with us.

We’ll see all patients to gather information about their evolution as further medication may need prescribing.

Prescriptions are made every morning when Nurses, like me, order it from the pharmacy, and then sort it out for each patient.

We change the surgical wound dressings where necessary, take out drain tubes and sutures from healed wounds, dispense tablets, deliver any intravenous and intramuscular injections, and put on drips.

A care assistant escorts the gallbladder patient to theatre whilst I calm down her emotions, which she still has despite her pre-op sedation the doctor prescribed earlier this morning.

I hold her hand and talk to her, feeling that her pulse is starting to slow down. I reassure her that everything will be fine and I'll see her at 5:00pm when she returns from the recovery unit.

I carry on with the drug order.

In a couple of hours, I’ll need to send the discs to theatre.

Two male patients bravely trying to hide their anxiety. But after I give them the same mild sedation, they were cool with everything.

Drug order ready it's my turn to take it to the pharmacy and to distribute the drugs on the ward.

The pharmacist will phone me when the order is ready to collect.

It's midday and time for the intravenous antibiotics drips to be given, so I'm carrying out this drug round.

Theatre phones me asking for the discs.

I ask my right hand, Alina to take the patients to the shop to be fixed.

All four of us start laughing.

It really makes a difference to be able to joke, helping take the tension away.

Quick Break Then Back To It

I'm taking a break. I’ve not eaten since breakfast.

We break one nurse at a time so that the ward’s covered at all times.

Phone call from the pharmacy; the drug order’s ready. Luckily I’ve finished my food already so I can get upstairs, on to the ward and start handing the drugs out.

Quick walk on the floor, to make sure all present patients are fine, clean, comfortable and fed.

The recovery unit deliver us the patient who had the gallbladder operation. That means it's 5 pm!

She is happy and she’s smiling. We take her down to her room, check the dressing, and take her obs.

She’s perfectly fine.

I need to do another round of observations on all patients, quickly write in their notes, then carry out the 6:00pm drug round.

Soon, the night nurses will arrive so I’ll have to prepare to handover to them.

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It’s 6:45 and I'm going to my locker to change and go home.

That's how it looks for me each day as a theatre nurse.

Today was actually quiet. It can become much busier if there are multiple new admissions or a deterioration in a patient's condition that needs a quick intervention.

Those days see more challenges, increased agitation and stress.

Being a nurse has taught me to value each moment of my life, to enjoy my health and care for it.

Nursing has taught me that age and wealth don’t matter.

I won’t change my profession for anything.

I love nursing!

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About the author

Our guest writers at come from all different walks of life. Although they come from different professions, whether that be a Mental Health Nurse, a Paramedic, a Surgeon, a Doctor, or a Recruiter, they all offer a wealth of experience and knowledge which is invaluable. Their dedication, loyalty and love for their role is what brings them here, to, where they write helpful content for you. They are real people bringing you real experiences.

    • Racine Morgan
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