11.2 A Day in the Life of a Nurse

Presented by: Iain Wilkinson, Stephen Collins, Georgie Gill


Contributors: Joe Bailey, Lucy Lewis, Chris O’Connor,

Learning outcomes:



  • To consider the range or role and responsibilities of a nurse
  • To consider the challenges and misconceptions that may impact out interactions with teams.


  • To be able to apply learning to own proactive as a team member


  • To identify the role of a nurse within the multidisciplinary team
  • To consider the skills of the nurses within your own team

Social media:


Mighty Mo’ Kornfield– 104 year old swimmer. 


The nurses interviewed discussed a wide range of topics related to their roles as nurses. These included nurses as leaders of patient care. 


Our nurses all discussed the impact of social care limitations on nurses ability to provide care and the impact of this on patient care. 


We put so much emphasis on the NHS and the healthcare system, but we really need to be prioritising social care, because without that it really impacts what we can do from a healthcare perspective’ Lucy Lewis. 


We discuss the growing number of nurses undertaking higher levels of academic qualifications such as Masters degrees and doctorates. Nurses are also leading research across fields. We spotted a great Twitter thread describing some of the amazing research nurses are undertaking in the UK.

Boeck (2014) Presence: A Concept Analysis


Boeck looks at the holistic nature of the nurse role, working across physical, psychological and spiritual concepts. They discuss the well evidenced need for nurses to be present with the patient experience and their supportive role in patient care. 

They developed a model to demonstrate the concept of presence in nursing. 

Fig 1. Presence Model Implications for Practice. Boeck, P (2014).

Fig 1. Presence Model Implications for Practice. Boeck, P (2014).

Tronto (1993) Framework for the concept of caring: 


Caring About: recognition that care is needed


Taking care of: involves taking some responsibility for the identified need and determining how to respond to it, and act on it. 

Arguably health professionals such as doctors and pharmacists work at this level.


Care-giving: meeting needs for care using direct and physical contact with the person in need. 

Nurses work at this level. 


Care receiving: the patient or clients response to care.

So where is Jean now?

Jean is seen by nurses in the emergency department, who might take blood, complete ECG’s, observations, lying and standing blood pressures. They might complete a bladder scan or skin assessment to review if she is in retention and note any pressure sores especially after she spent 3-5 hours on the bathroom floor. . They also administer medications. 


Once admitted Jean is cared for in a bay of 6-8 patients by a nurse. They assist with washing, dressing, mobilising, managing her toileting needs. They undertake regular observations, administer and manage medications and skin care. Depending on the ward they may manage catheters, chest drains, wounds, pressure sores.  They might manage a catheter if she has one, or assist her toilet needs. They supervise her mobilising as per physiotherapy input. There is a nurse looking after her bay 24/7.

Jean has a dog and the nursing staff might arrange for a volunteer from the Cinnamon trust who can ensure her dog at home gets the care her needs, is walked. This might reassure Jean that her dog is cared so she can focus on getting better herself.  

See more about the Cinnamon trust here

Jean might see a specialist Dementia or Parkinson’s nurse, or if she has any pressure or moisture lesions the tissue viability team called to see her.

Sources for this episode

Hoddinott, 2021. What is a Nurse?


Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2021. Data reports- September 2021.


Boeck, 2014. Presence: A concept analysis. SAGE Open. 4(1) 


Burns, D. 2018. Foundations in Adult Nursing. SAGE publications ltd.


Clouder, D. 2005. Caring as a ‘threshold concept’: transforming students in higher education health (care) proffessionals. 


NHS Key Skills Framework 


  • Communicate with people on a range of matters.
  • Contribute to own personal development.

Health and Wellbeing L2

  • Enable people to meet ongoing health and wellbeing needs. 
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate care to meet peoples health and wellbeing needs. 


Foundation Curriculum 

Year One

2.6 Interface with HCP’s 

  • Describes the structure and importance of the wider healthcare team 
  • Works effectively with the healthcare team for the benefit of patient care

2.7 Interaction with colleagues

  • Acts as a member of the multidisciplinary professional team by supporting, respecting and being receptive to the views of other healthcare professionals


  • Works effectively with others towards a common goal e.g. accepts instructions and allocation of tasks from seniors at handovers and multidisciplinary team meetings


4.20 Healthcare resource management 

Demonstrates understanding of the organisational structure of the NHS and independent sector and their role in the wider health and social care landscape

Describes hospital and departmental management structure

Foundation Curriculum 

Year Two

2.6 Interface with other healthcare professionals 

Demonstrates ability to make referrals across boundaries / through networks of care (primary, secondary, tertiary)


2.7 Interaction with colleagues

Demonstrates initiative e.g. by recognising work pressures on others, providing support and organising / allocating work to optimise effectiveness within the clinical team

GP Training Curriculum 

Clinical Management

Contribute to an organisational and professional approach that facilitates continuity of care (e.g. through adequate record keeping and building long term patient relationships)


Organise follow up of your patients after referral through multiprofessional, team bases and structured approaches including monitoring, reviewing and regular care planning.



Working with colleagues and in teams

Enhance working relationships by demonstrating understanding, giving effective feedback and maintaining trust.



Appropriately seek advice from other professionals and team members according to their roles and expertise.


Organisation, management and leadership

Recognise the importance of distributed leadership within health organisations, which place responsibility on every team member and values the contribution of the whole team


Community orientation

Describe the current structure of your local healthcare system, including various role, responsibilities and organisations within it, applying this understanding to improve the quality and safety of care you provide.


Core Medical Trainee

Define the role of rehabilitation services and the multi-disciplinary team to facilitate long-term care

Internal Medicine Training Curriculum

Communicates  effectively with clinical and other professional colleagues. 

Geriatrics and higher specialty training curriculum  




Define the role of rehabilitation services and the multidisciplinary team to facilitate long term care 


Have knowledge of the range of agencies that can provide care and support both in and out of hospital and how they can be accessed.

Rehab and MDT working.  Roles and expertise of different members of interdisciplinary team