A Day in the Life of a Nurse: Dedication, Compassion, and Resilience

Contributor: Irfan Ullah

Nurses are vital pillars of support and compassion in the complex world of healthcare. They are the bedrock of patient care, driven by unwavering dedication and steadfast commitment. This article explores the daily activities of nurses, delving into the challenges they face, the impact they make, and the unique qualities that define their profession.

Nursing encompasses a wide range of roles and expertise, with professionals ranging from registered nurses to specialized practitioners. These individuals undergo rigorous education and training to provide comprehensive care to patients. Beyond administering medications and treatments, nurses also act as advocates, educators, and emotional support systems for their patients (Kieft et al., 2014). One nursing theory that supports this dedication is the Theory of Human Caring, proposed by Jean Watson. According to this theory, nurses demonstrate dedication by establishing a caring and trusting relationship with their patients, promoting their well-being, and valuing their uniqueness and individuality (Gunawan et al., 2022).

A typical day for a nurse begins with the rising sun, as they engage in personal self-care activities like exercise or meditation to build resilience and mental clarity. They review patient charts and care plans, gathering crucial information for personalized care throughout the day. This daily routine aligns with the Adaptation Model by Sister Callista Roy. According to this theory, nurses assess patients’ adaptation to their health conditions and the environment and intervene to promote their adaptation and well-being. By reviewing patient charts and conducting assessments, nurses identify areas where patients may need support and implement appropriate interventions (McEwen & Wills, 2022b).

As the morning unfolds, nurses take on their responsibilities with dedication, ensuring that equipment is organized and ready for efficient care. They collaborate with the healthcare team, engaging in interdisciplinary discussions to exchange vital information that contributes to comprehensive care (Yen et al., 2018).Morning is a busy time for nurses, as they check on each patient, document their status, and attend to various tasks such as reviewing blood work and assisting diabetic patients with monitoring their blood sugar levels. They also provide support to patients with daily activities like eating and mobility, while administering medications during “med pass. The Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory by Dorothea Orem supports this aspect of nursing practice. According to this theory, nurses assist patients in meeting their self-care needs when they are unable to do so independently. Nurses assess patients’ capabilities, provide support and interventions to promote self-care and ensure that patient’s physical and emotional needs are met (Smith, 2019).

Nurses continue their rounds in the afternoon, managing new admissions and discharges. They administer necessary medications, follow up on documentation, and employ their interpersonal skills to explain diagnoses and treatment plans to patients.

 The core of a nurse’s duty lies in providing direct patient care. They conduct thorough assessments, monitor vital signs, and attend to patients’ emotional and physical needs. Alongside technical skills, nurses offer empathy, a listening ear, and a reassuring presence to patients who may be scared, apprehensive, or in pain. Collaboration and effective communication are essential as nurses work with various healthcare professionals, ensuring that patients’ needs are met and their families receive support and guidance (Sibiya, 2018). The Interpersonal Theory of Nursing by Hildegard Peplau highlights the importance of nurse-patient relationships and nurse-nurse collaborations. This theory emphasizes the nurse’s role as a facilitator of communication and therapeutic relationships, which promote patient well-being and enhance the effectiveness of healthcare teams (Peplau, 1991).

Given the ever-changing nature of healthcare, nurses prioritize continual learning and professional development. They pursue additional education, attend workshops, and stay updated on scientific advancements, clinical trials, and best practices to provide the best possible care to their patients(Pool et al., 2016). While nurses dedicate themselves to helping others, they must also address their own stress and mental well-being. They develop coping strategies, seek support from colleagues, prioritize self-care, and seek professional counseling when needed (Delgado et al., 2022).

Continuing education and professional development play a vital role in a nurse’s career. Nurses eagerly embrace opportunities for ongoing learning, staying up to date with the latest medical advancements and best practices. They attend conferences, and workshops, and pursue advanced certifications, enhancing their knowledge and skills to provide evidence-based care (Mlambo et al., 2021)

Patient care and interaction occupy a significant portion of a nurse’s day. They continuously monitor patients’ progress, administer medications and therapies, and provide emotional support by actively listening and fostering a comfortable environment. Nurses faced various challenges, including urgent situations that demand quick decision-making, flexibility to adapt to unexpected changes, and maintaining professionalism and composure. Nurses handle these difficulties with resilience, ensuring patient safety and well-being (Alliger et al., 2015).

During lunch breaks, nurses prioritize rest and renewal, sharing meals with colleagues to foster support and camaraderie. They reflect on the day’s events, celebrate successes, and learn from setbacks.

As the day comes to a close, nurses prepare to transition to the next shift. Clear and effective communication is essential to ensure a seamless transfer of care. They meticulously document patient care and observations, ensuring that vital information is accurately recorded for the patient’s ongoing treatment. Nurses also take the time to tidy up their workspace, ensuring it is ready for the incoming shift.

In summary, the life of a nurse is characterized by dedication, empathy, and resilience. They start their day with preparation, engage in patient care and interdisciplinary collaboration, respond to emergencies, pursue continual learning, and provide emotional support to patients and their families. Nurses navigate challenges with composure and professionalism while prioritizing their well-being. Ultimately, they leave each day with a sense of fulfillment, knowing they have touched lives and made a positive impact in the field of healthcare.


Alliger, G. M., Cerasoli, C. P., Tannenbaum, S. I., & Vessey, W. B. (2015). Team resilience: How teams flourish under pressure. Organizational Dynamics.

 Delgado, C., Evans, A., Roche, M., & Foster, K. (2022). Mental health nurses’ resilience in the context of emotionaal labour: An interpretive qualitative study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 31(5), 1260–1275. https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.13037

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Smith, M. C. (2019). Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice. F.A. Davis.

Yen, P. Y., Kellye, M., Lopetegui, M., Saha, A., Loversidge, J., Chipps, E. M., Gallagher-Ford, L., & Buck, J. (2018). Nurses’ Time Allocation and Multitasking of Nursing Activities: A Time Motion Study. AMIA Annu Symp Proc, 2018, 1137-1146.

About Irfan Ullah

Irfan Ullah MSN scholar at Aga Khan University Karachi, Pakistan, holds a BSN from Rehman College of Nursing Peshawar Pakistan. With experience as a Nursing Supervisor and Critical Care Nurse. My primary goals are to advance nursing practice and enhance patient outcomes. My passion for making a positive impact on the nursing profession is fueled by my unrelenting devotion to patient care.

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