A little less than a month into my new Acute Care assignment and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it! From learning the layout of the hospital to getting acquainted with the documentation system, I finally feel at home. For this post, I wanted to share a day in the life as an Acute Care PT.
Similar to my last assignment, I am working 4 10 hour shifts a week, which I love. However, my schedule changes so that each therapist works at least one weekend a month. This took some getting used to since I enjoy weekends off.
This assignment is slightly similar to my time in Inpatient Rehab. However, instead of seeing patients a few days post surgery, I see some patients a few hours after surgery. This aspect was a little frightening at first but nothing compares to the amount of tubing that I have to deal with. From IVs, heart monitors, and nasal cannulas that supply oxygen, I’m constantly having to use clinical judgement on the safest way to get patients out of bed and walking (if they are able). Sometimes they are safe to disconnect and other times they are not. This is where the collaboration with nursing and other disciplines come into play. I never hesitate to perform a thorough chart review and check in with the patient’s nurse prior to seeing them. I am also sure to notify the Telemetry Techs (staff who watch each patient’s vitals on a screen) before I work with a patient as their vitals may change with movement.
A plus side to working in the hospital is that I see patients from each end of the spectrum in reference to physical ability. At 8 am, I can see a patient who is in the CCU and needs complete assistance to get to the edge of the bed. I can see another patient at 9am who simply needs supervision with walking in case of a loss of balance. This definitely breaks up the monotony of my day.
The one thing that has remained constant is the relationship that I get to develop with patients who I work with. I have even gotten offers to provide home health care from a few of them. (LOL) Although, I have to decline, I make it my goal to help make their transition back home a smooth one. I may be in a different setting, but my mission is still the same: Improving their mobility and functional independence!