Senior Wards Nurse Laura Symonds

A day in the life of Senior Wards Nurse Laura Symonds

To showcase the important work of our nursing team for Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month 2020, Senior Wards Nurse Laura Symonds has written about a typical day in her role at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue.

I have been a referral nurse for five years and having worked in multiple disciplines, I developed a keen interest in oncology and completed a postgraduate certificate in oncology nursing. I have been senior wards nurse at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue for almost one year now and my knowledge and skills have already grown massively.

The varied caseload of oncology, medical and surgical patients is great and the high level of expertise across all of the staff means I am always learning new things. It is a great team to be a part of, everyone is valued and appreciated for their work, whether they are clinical or non-clinical.

A typical day as senior wards nurse starts with attending morning rounds with the clinicians, where we discuss each inpatient and their treatment plan. I then assign dedicated nurses to each of the patients, organise our tasks for the day and update families on how their animal has been over the previous night.

Typical treatments that myself and the other nurses in wards provide include; drug administration, nutrition provision, tube feeding, wound care, fluid administration, vital parameter monitoring, administering blood transfusions, physiotherapy and recovering patients from surgery. We also use many advanced devices such as chest drains, central venous catheters and wound diffusion catheters.

My role is to oversee the care that each animal receives in wards and to ensure that we are always doing the most we can for each individual case. I also help to train and support our newer nurses who may not have worked in a referral setting before, and I work with our floor coordinator and senior nurse clinicians to ensure the smooth flow of patients through the hospital. At the end of a shift, we provide a detailed handover of each patient to the evening nurses for them to continue the care.

No two days in wards are ever the same and not knowing what interesting cases a shift will bring keeps me on my toes. We look after everything from the day patients heading straight home after their procedure, to the very sick and those that have had major surgeries. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is being able to get to know the inpatients well, form bonds and see them improve day by day. It is always hugely satisfying to know that we have provided the highest standard of care possible.

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