We’re showcasing the work of different members of our amazing staff at King's, looking at all areas of the hospital. In our fourth ‘a day in the life of’ we spent the day with Lauren Turner, Junior Sister in the Emergency Department.
7.15am Lauren arrives at the hospital, 30 minutes before the start of the shift, so that she can allocate nursing staff, healthcare assistants and student nurses to the different areas of the emergency department (urgent care, resus, majors, the clinical decision unit and triage).
7.45-8am Lauren attends the handover meeting. She said: “During the meeting we are given all the information from the night shift - the patients who came in overnight and anything important that happened. There were no major issues, although all the beds except one are full.”
9.30am A red phone call comes in which means that a critically unwell patient is on their way.
9.50am The patient arrives and is unfortunately now receiving end of life care. Lauren said: “We aren’t able to accept any more patients now until we can admit some of the patients here to one of the hospital wards. Luckily we haven’t had any further red phones since then.”
Lauren said: “Resus will receive the most unwell patients, trauma patients mostly. We give them really intense treatment – one nurse to two patients."
10.25am Lauren is hoping that beds in the hospital will become available so patients in resus can be admitted. The bed manager rings, two beds have become available so two patients can be transferred to the ward.
Lauren said: “The emotional side is the hardest part of the job. We do get a lot of younger trauma patients and gang-related stabbings. They are often young people and that can be really difficult."
“The more time you work here the easier it gets, but there is always that one patient who can set you off. If it connects to something personal in your life it can really affect you."
11.40am Another red phone call comes in. It gets announced on the tannoy so everyone is aware. Lauren helps prepare the bed bay for the new arrival along with staff nurse Alex Buckland.
11.50am The patient arrives. It is a 60-year-old man, who has sepsis. Any patient who has two of the red flag sepsis indicators will be classed as having sepsis.
Lauren explains that they sometimes only have 2/3 mins – 30 mins notice before a patient arrives. Although they may have a bit longer if the patient is arriving by helicopter.
12pm The patient in bed one is taken to a ward, leaving room for another patient to come in.
Lauren and staff nurse Vicki McConnell help to clean up bed one so that it is ready for the new patient.
12.10pm There is a call to say a new patient will arrive. It is a patient with a fast heart rate. “At this time of year we have a lot of elderly patients with sepsis and respiratory conditions or chest infections."
12.15pm Lauren washes her hands before going on her break.
1.45pm: A patient with stab wounds comes into the Major Trauma Department. He had an eviscerated bowel and was taken straight into theatre.
2.20pm: A patient with a very low blood pressure is brought into the Emergency Department.
He became peri-arrest (pre cardiac arrest) and needed an urgent blood transfusion from the Code Red fridge. Lauren and the team were able to resuscitate him and he went into theatre.
3.15pm: Resus becomes busier and is over capacity. There are more patients than there are cubicles for. Lauren and the team decide to decant patients into the Majors area of the Emergency Department to make space for the new Red Phones (trauma).
4.40pm: A 92-year-old lady is brought in on a stroke call. After assessment it becomes clear that she hasn’t had a stroke but in fact has bleeding around her heart, causing a life-threatening condition known as an aortic dissection.
8pm: Lauren finishes her shift for the day!
We hope you've enjoyed finding out all about Lauren's role in the Emergency Department. Look out for the next one on Thursday 15 November!