Day in the Life: Registered Nurse

Job Title: Registered Nurse

Industry: Healthcare

Location: Spokane, WA

Age: 58

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: $80K, earned PTO, sick days, Medical, Dental and Vision

Employer Type: Private company

Employer Size: Large.  Hundreds of skilled nursing facilities in the Western US.

How Long in Current Position: 7 years

Highest Level of Education: Associates Degree in Nursing

Path to This Job: I worked in a large hospital for many years and needed a change of pace.  Started working for a skilled nursing facility doing MDS nursing.

A typical day at work:

5:00am: Wake up.

6:15-6:30am: Arrive at work.

During the Day:

My nursing job requires resident assessments for Medicare and Medicaid compliance.  Arriving early allows me to interact with the night shift staff.  I usually do not stop for lunch but will eat at my desk while working. 

3:00-3:30pm: Most days, I leave work by this time.

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Day in the Life: Communications Specialist



Job Title: Communications Specialist

Industry: Healthcare

Location: Nashville, TN

Age: 24

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: $50,000, 4% 401k match, dental/vision/healthcare (employer pays about half), 4 weeks of PTO annually

Employer Type: Startup

Employer Size: 200 employees

How Long in Current Position: 1.5 years

Highest Level of Education: Undergraduate degree

Path to This Job: I loved the idea of helping people, but didn’t want to go into the clinical side of healthcare. I studied healthcare administration and completed a marketing internship during undergrad. I applied to a startup and have worked there since graduating. I started out as an office manager/admin assistant, worked on the companies budget overhaul, some CMS specific programs, and then then moved to communications/marketing.

A typical day at work:

6:30am: I wake up at 6:30 for yoga or running.

7:30am: Start work. I work remotely. My office is based on the east coast so I keep east coast hours even though I work in central time. I usually go through my inbox, reach out to my boss and check anything on social media that’s come in overnight. I manage our monthly newsletter, social media accounts, and website. I often have video calls with my team or other teams. I spend a lot of my time writing and editing others’ writing. I do some design for things like one pagers and campaigns.

12:30pm: Break for lunch.

4:30-5:00pm: I finish my day around this time but when we are busier it can be later. I used to work in an office setting and asked to go remote. I love the flexibility it has brought me.

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A Day in the Life: ER Nurse

Job Title: Registered Nurse – emergency room

Industry: Healthcare

Location: New Jersey

Age: 28

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: About $75,000/ year. I can make more if I choose to by picking up overtime.

Employer Type: Hospital group, non-profit

Employer Size: Huge. They are the largest employer in several of the counties in my state.

How Long in Current Position: 5 years

Highest Level of Education: 2 Bachelor’s Degrees

Path to This Job: Bachelor of science in nursing, which qualified me to sit for the NCLEX, the test for RN licensure.

A typical day at work:

I work 7:00am-7:30pm three days a week, which is full time.

5:40: Get up at this time, which gives me enough time to shower, eat, pack a lunch, and drive to work.

6:55: I arrive around 6:55 most days so I can get to my locker, change my shoes, and put my bag away before the shift change report from the night nurses, which usually lasts about 20-25 minutes. I get an actual “lunch break” where I can leave the unit with another nurse caring for the patients in my assignment about 30% of the time. Most days I pack food that can be easily/ quickly eaten and just eat when I can.

7:00: Shift starts. Once I get to work there is no typical day for me. Some days are all easy fixes and boo boos – wounds that need to be sutured, sprained ankles, belly pain that turns out the be gas. Other days every one of my patients is crashing at one point or another- we see motor vehicle collisions (“MVCs”), gunshots, drowning, strokes, burns, septic shock, overdoses, suicide attempts, cardiac arrests – sometimes several of these at the same time.

Most days are a combination of the “walk in the park” and “everything is going to sh*t” days. We have fantastic teamwork in my department. We would not be able to provide the care that we do without it.

As I am a senior nurse in my department, sometimes my assignment is to be “charge nurse”, which I am paid more to do. The charge nurse role does not have a patient assignment of their own, but coordinates all staff in the department, triages arriving ambulances, takes incoming patient reports from paramedics, and assists other nurses in caring for critically ill patients.

READERS, SUBMIT YOUR DAY: The Career Files Submission Form

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash