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Day in the Life of a Nurse Practitioner


Happy Nurse Practitioner's Week to my fellow NP colleagues!

In honour of NP week I'm sharing a typical day in the life!

Wonder what I do all day?

How do I change lives and care for others while keeping my own health in check?

Read on!

0600-0730:

Wake up to my iPhone alarm - or cat's internal clock (cue meowing at 5:45am).

Make coffee.

Have a large glass of water. I aim for 2-3 litres of water a day according to my body size and activity level. This is the right amount for me, but the right amount for you may vary.

Head up to the condo gym for a 30 minute incline walk with an audio book. Exercise and life long learning are keys to success!

I take a Multivitamin, Omegas, and Vitamin D in the morning. Vitamin D is important especially in Canada where we don't get enough sunshine to for our bodies to create it itself! I use nutraceutical grade supplements when possible because I can trust the quality and purity of the ingredients.

Shower and get presentable!

0730:

Get out the door and on to the subway to head to work - the subway is more efficient than driving in the city! If it's raining exceptionally hard I may chose to use a driving service

0800:

Open up the clinic.

Check e-mails.

Review the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) inbox for new lab results and reports.

Review reminders in the EMR.

Prepare for the clinic day ahead.

I may receive one or two calls before the official clinic opening time of 9am. I typically take these calls as anyone calling before the official opening time is likely in need of something urgently.

0900:

Meet with the interprofessional team including nurses, physician assistants, chiropractic, naturopath and nutritionist to review urgent cases and plan for the day ahead.

Lead a brief education session on anything timely - recently this was medical cannabis and our clinic's new policy. Typically the education is around patient safety, reading electrocardigrams (ECGs), and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

Address administrative, scheduling, and clinical issues.

1000:

See a patient booked for Executive Health Assessment or Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment for 1-2 hours.

As a Primary Health Care NP I see patients ages 0 to 100+ years.

I have the benefit of being able to spend time with patients to really go into detail on history taking and to provide extra health teaching an coaching.

The most common and important topics for health teaching and coaching in no particular order are:

1. Diet

2. Exercise

3. Sleep

4. Stress Management

5. Hormonal Health

6. Gut Health

7. Environment & Genetics

8. Cardiovascular and Cancer Risk Management

9. Pain Management

10. Mental Health

11. Cognition

If you have any questions about any of these comment below or send me a message in the Contact Me section on the home page.

Inevitably I will field urgent messages and calls intermittently as part of my dual NP/Management role.

1100:

Respond to urgent calls.

Order lab work to be drawn by nursing colleagues or - in the case of a tough vein use skills developed in my years working in the ICU setting to expertly perform phlebotomy.

Spend some time reviewing and teaching a Nurse Practitioner student if I am preceptoring that day.

1200:

I may review or consult with a physician colleague depending on the client and health issues discussed and agree on patient care plans.

Document, document, document.

Documenting as soon as possible after a patient encounter is important to ensure accuracy.

Prepare referrals or order tests as needed.

Set reminders for follow-up on the Electronic Medical Record. Reminders are key to ensuring recommendations are followed through on.

1300:

Take a break.

Check in with colleagues.

Eat a wholesome, balanced lunch.

Take a walk.

I try to leave the office when possible. If I stay in the office I am likely to continue working -which is not ideal for stress management and healthy digestion.

At this time of year - when colds and flus are on the rise - this break is delayed until 2 or 2:30pm due to urgent patient consults.

Colds and flus increase complications related to cardiac health and are tough on children, seniors or anyone with immunocompromise. So, get your flu shot, wash your hands frequently, and cover your face with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze to prevent spread of viruses!

I may also spend time working on special projects of my choosing or taking care of personal business matters with my personal training studio or such during my break to optimize my daytime working hours.

1400-1645:

Afternoons are filled with a combination of:

1. Walk-in clients for aches, pains, coughs & colds, injuries and so on.

2. Coaching calls

3. Chart reviews

4. Documentation

5. Referrals and expediting referrals

6. Staff meetings

7. Other management work that keeps the clinic running like reviewing policies and procedures, connecting with stakeholders, research, and so on.

1645:

Clinical huddle with colleagues to see how the day went and areas in need of support for continuous quality improvement.

1700:

Head home - unless an urgent case came in or client walked in at 4:45 or a call went late or I need to catch up on documentation.

1800:

Eat dinner with my spouse at the dining table.

Eating with someone is more likely to lead to better dietary choices and more mindful eating.

This is important for weight management and overall well being. After all, we are social creatures!

1900:

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I reserve time for private health coaching or career coaching for 1-on-1 clients.

If you're wondering how I might be able to help you, you can schedule a call with me here.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm at the gym doing resistance training with a personal trainer - this is the benefit of co-owning a personal training studio!

You can find out more about the benefits of exercise, healthy diet, and see my personal training studio here.

Our private studio offers both 1-on-1 and small group training. I prefer training in a small group of like-minded women. Typically these women are from many different backgrounds, ages, and levels of experience in personal training from beginner to expert! I find the mix to be more motivating and fun!

As they say - the best exercise is the exercise you enjoy!

For those who can't make it to downtown Toronto there is also the option of online personal training with workout program planning and coaching from a distance by the expert head coach and co-owner.

We should all aim for activities that strengthen the bones and muscles 3 days a week and 30 minutes of moderate activity other days of the week.

As always, check with your primary care provider before starting an exercise program especially if you have any pre-existing conditions like heart disease.

I follow my workouts with a high quality protein powder to help with muscle repair because getting enough grams of protein through food alone can be challenging!

2000:

Catch up on current events, read, study, write.

I may have a glass of organic red wine to wind down.

2100:

Technology is turned off including internet and cell phones.

We avoid wifi signals and blue light from screens as much as possible before bed to ensure optimal levels of melatonin - the sleep hormone.

We also avoid working or discussing work so we can wind down instead of stimulate stress hormones like cortisol that will interfere with the circadian rhythm.

2200:

Zzz.

Sleep is the only time the brain detoxifies. During sleep the brain cells shrink just a bit and the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) can move about more freely.

8 hours sleep is my goal to optimally detox my brain, repair my body, and be rested for another day of patient assessment, treatment and management and clinic management!

Happy Nurse Practitioner's Week to all of my colleagues!

If you're a Nurse Practitioner reading this I encourage you to share your day in the life!

Post below to share your story or post a link to your story!

Thinking of becoming a Nurse Practitioner but have some questions or don't know where to start? Reach out to me.

If you enjoyed this blog follow me by entering your email address on the home page and show your support by sharing!

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