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Senior Staff Nurse - Day procedure Unit

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Adult Nursing


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

  • Delivery of care for patients receiving surgical, medical and endoscopy procedures as day cases.
  • Prioritising case load of patients and their care.
  • Patient education on a variety of subjects such as health promotion.
  • Discharge planning.
  • Working within a multidisciplinary care team.
  • Mentoring students and junior staff.
  • Deputising for the ward manager when applicable.
  • Assist in standard setting and review.
  • Working within the policies and protocols of the Trust.


Specific qualifications and experience required

  • Registered Nurse Adult Nursing.
  • 2 years post registration experience.
  • Theatre/ endoscopy experience desirable.


Career Milestones

When I first gained my registration I was aware of the responsibility I had in care provision. In those days there were no mentoring programmes so I looked to the senior staff and ward sister as role models, learning how to prioritise care and take charge of wards. As a staff nurse in coronary care, I learned many new skills and gathered knowledge about this specialty. I was given responsibility fairly quickly and whilst this was very challenging, it was also satisfying to gain confidence in caring for acutely ill patients and dealing with distressed relatives. This time helped me to mature and develop assertiveness skills. I then went to a post as a surgical staff nurse which again provided me with many challenges. During this time I undertook some self directed study by seeking out information myself and asking questions of those who worked with me until I felt I was competent in my post. I had the opportunity to act up in the absence of the ward manager and whilst I enjoyed leading the team I did not find it easy constantly balancing the demands that staff shortages, bed shortages and not always feeling fully supported. I realised then that management was not for me. Continuing education and professional development have been an important part of my career pathway in maintaining standards of care related to evidence based practice. I found it helpful to identify areas of interest to myself and then plan learning needs around those areas. Whilst on holiday in the USA, I arranged an interesting visit to a day surgical unit where a friend of mine worked. This was around the same time as the opening of the unit I now work in. I decided to take up my present post which presented me with yet more learning and development challenges that I have found rewarding.


What attracted you to this job?

  • The experience of a family member in a similar post who found the job rewarding.
  • My interest in the principles and concept of day surgery.
  • The caring aspect of a nurse's role - job satisfaction.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

  • Caring role - getting to know patients well and feeling you are caring for them at a time of need.
  • Working within a team while having autonomy.
  • Communication - developing good skills in communicating with many different people in many different situations.


Important success factors

  • Learning to put the patient first in all decisions regarding their care and acting as their advocate when necessary.
  • Using 'common sense' - it is invaluable in most situations.
  • Informal clinical supervision - talking through difficult situations with nursing colleagues/ friends.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

If you are thinking about taking up a career in nursing I would advise you to think carefully. Find out as much information as you can about the course and consider carefully the role you are taking on. Be realistic about the training, job type and career prospects. It would be helpful to try and gain some experience of hospital work beforehand in for example, work placements voluntary work or working as a nursing auxiliary. Talk to other students of nursing and any staff nurses you know to gain an insight into the role of a nurse. My job is a busy, demanding one which is very worthwhile and rewarding. There are many areas of development currently ongoing in day surgery as the scope of day surgery is set to increase. If you are interested in a post in a day surgery unit you may want to think about organising a visit to your local unit.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

  • Communication skills.
  • Dealing with a wide variety of people in many differing situations.
  • Interviewing and assessing patients within a short time frame.
  • Assertiveness skills.
  • Confidence.
  • The skill to recognise my own competence and work within my scope of practice.
  • Skills in supporting other team members.
  • Teaching skills.


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