A day in the life of an NHS Nurse

10 July 2019  •  NHS
A day in the life of an NHS Nurse

The NHS offers an enormous variety of nursing opportunities. Positions can range from frontline emergency room nursing to postnatal community health visiting. In this week’s blog post we interviewed a number of nurses across multiple disciplines to find a typical day in the life of an NHS nurse. Nursing tasks, of course, differ from post to post, but there are some that translate to many different nursing roles within the NHS, as you will discover below.

7am – 12.30pm

Nursing shifts often begin early. In a typical position, a nurse will arrive at the hospital to begin a 7am shift. A handover takes place between the morning shift staff and the nurses leaving the night shift. This will involve going over each patient chart and giving an update on any emergencies or urgent cases.

Then it’s time to do the rounds. Tasks during this period can include (but are not limited to):

  • Wound care and changing dressings
  • Monitoring patients for a change in condition
  • Chasing labs
  • Talking with patients and finding out how they are, how their night was and what they need
  • Ensuring patients have had their breakfast and are comfortable
  • Helping mobile patients to get up and encouraging movement if necessary
  • Liaising with doctors to modify patient treatment as necessary
  • Administering morning medication
  • Speaking with family members during family visiting hours
  • Admitting new patients
  • Preparing patients for surgery

12.30pm – 13:30pm

Taking a break is vital. Many of the nurses we spoke to told us that eating a healthy, filling lunch is crucial at this point, especially as there’s still another 6 hours to go before the end of the day!

13:30pm – 18.45pm

Afternoon ward rounds are similar to the mornings. However, afternoon tasks may also include:

  • Discharging patients
  • Administering afternoon medications
  • Catching up with morning outstanding tasks
  • Updating charts
  • Attending multidisciplinary meetings
  • Caring for post surgery patients
  • Preparing documents for the staff on the evening and night shift
  • Updating family during family visiting hours

18:45pm – 19:00pm

Handover is a critical part of any nursing role. It is vital that the correct information and updates is given to the staff coming on the next shift. A patient’s condition can change dramatically throughout the day and for their safety and well-being, all staff need to be aware of any such changes.


After the shift is finished it’s important a nurse takes the time to wind down. Much can happen during a working day, including patient deaths and difficult emergencies. And the truth is, at 7am the following day, it starts all over again! Therefore, any nurse in any nursing role needs to take this time out to relax, reboot and get some good rest. 

There’s little doubt that being a nurse within the NHS is busy, challenging and rewarding. While some duties differ from role to role, there are some which are consistent, regardless of where you’re based. 

If you’d like to discover available nursing roles within the NHS, click here to search for a position

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