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Essay Typical Work Day

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a nurse is often responsible for assisting physicians in administering patient care, providing advice and educating patients on a variety of medical conditions, and giving advice to the patient as well as their family. However, that is only a vague overview of all of the intricate tasks and duties that go into nursing. A nurse workday varies from facility to facility, but in general, many of the same traits are shared.

Annette Staack shares a detailed description of what she encounters on each work day in her life as a nurse.

Morning Hours

When a nurse first arrives at work, one of their first responsibilities is to either speak with the previous night nurse or review outpatient records to get an idea of which and how many patients they’ll be dealing with. Once this has been completed, other preparations are made which include looking over patient tests that will be administered throughout that day, coordinating schedules with doctors, and checking email.

Once all of this has been completed, premed orders are faxed, and any testing equipment needed for early morning patients is set up. Additionally, if testing equipment is required to be set up, a call is usually made to them to confirm that they will be on time.

As time goes on, patients are seen and helped by the nurse, and vitals are taken for all of them. A computer is used to chart patient data, and the nurse works alongside the doctor to administer any testing and assist in whichever way the particular situation calls for.

Emergencies come up throughout the day that may prevent other, less critical appointments and testing from taking place on time.

Mid Day

Roughly around the point of mid day, lunch is eaten. However, this could be interrupted at any time by a medical emergency that needs immediate attention. A day in the life of a nurse can be hectic, and any nurse will tell you that no two days are alike. Whenever the emergency subsides, the nurse goes back to quickly consume the rest of their lunch with what little time they have left.


As time creeps into the afternoon, more patients are seen and dealt with. In some cases, non-English-speaking patients will bring along translators to help the communication process along.

Once the nurse gets a chance to breathe between patient emergencies, appointments, testing, and scheduling, he/she can return to their office to catch up on less critical matters, such as emails.

The nurse continues to see patients and check on ICU procedures by reviewing charts and collecting data. Many nurses are in charge of collecting and recording data on surgery patients. Amidst doing this, a nurse might continue to check and respond to emails and review the schedule for the following day.

Lastly, at the end of the day, the nurse leaves almost entirely depleted of energy. However, they are also filled with a sense of fulfillment for making such a difference in the lives of their patients. The nurse plans to go home and take care of personal matters, and he/she is usually in bed by around nine or ten to ensure there’s enough rest and recharging for the next action-packed day!

When asking this question, what the interviewer is truly asking is for you to give examples to verify the skills and expertise that you listed in your resume or may have shared earlier in the interview process.

Points to Emphasize

It is a great idea to review your resume before entering the interview process. When answering the question, you will want to elaborate on skills you have previously shared while providing new examples.

  • Talk about the skills you have that you believe you will utilize most in the position.
  • Focus on experiences you have had utilizing those skills.
  • Paint your experience in a positive light.
  • If you received any awards or recognition through utilizing your skills, speak about them.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

You want to recall your experiences as close to how you shared them previously, whether it was in your resume or verbally. It is important to maintain continuity to avoid it seeming like you may have lied previously.

  • Do not allude to the fact that you feel you have previously answered the question and try to breeze over it.
  • If you have several previous positions, do not try to talk about all of them; focus in on the one or two most relevant jobs.
  • Avoid sharing a laundry list of duties; paint a general picture of the skills you utilized on a regular basis.
  • Steer away from any negative comments, unless you are speak of your conflict resolution skills.

Sample Answer

A good answer to address your previous experience might sound something like:

In a typical day in my last position I fulfilled management tasks of opening and closing the facility, as well as overseeing a staff of seven individuals. Throughout the day I completed various administrative duties as well, including answering phones, drafting documents and emails, filing and greeting customers. I also provided strong customer service and resolved customer issues.

Utilize this question as a way to drive home the facts that you are aware of the skills necessary for the position, that you have those skills and that you have the experience to prove it.

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