Sam is a novice nurse who is reporting to work for his 0600 shift on the medical telemetry/progressive care floor. He is waiting to receive handoff report from the night shift nurse for his assigned patients. The information that he has received thus far regarding his patient assignment includes the following:
- Room 501: 64-year-old patient admitted last night with heart failure exacerbation. Patient received furosemide 80mg IV push at 2000 with 1600 mL urine output. He is receiving oxygen via nasal cannula at 2L/minute. According to the night shift aide, he has been resting comfortably overnight.
- Room 507: 74-year-old patient admitted yesterday for possible cardioversion due to new onset of atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response. Is scheduled for transesophageal echocardiogram and possible cardioversion at 1000.
- Room 512: 82-year-old patient who is scheduled for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery today at 0700 and is receiving an insulin infusion.
- Room 536: 72-year-old patient who had a negative heart catheterization yesterday but experienced a groin bleed; plans for discharge this morning.
Based on the limited information Sam has thus far, he begins to prioritize his activities for the morning. With what is known thus far regarding his patient assignment, whom might Sam plan to see first and why? What principles of prioritization might be applied?
Although Sam would benefit from hearing a full report on his patients and reviewing the patient charts, he can already begin to engage in strategies for prioritization. Based on the information that has been shared thus far, Sam determines that none of the patients assigned to him are experiencing critical or urgent needs. All of the patients’ basic physiological needs are being met, but many have actual clinical concerns. Based on the time constraint with scheduled surgery and the insulin infusion for the patient in Room 512, this patient should take priority in Sam’s assessments. It is important for Sam to ensure that this patient’s pre-op checklist is complete, and he is stable with the infusion prior to transferring him for surgery. Although Sam may later receive information that alters this priority setting, based on the information he has thus far, he has utilized prioritization principles to make an informed decision.