A day in the life of a trauma nurse practitioner
It’s truly a team effort when it comes to providing the very best care for patients who are critically injured. We’re taking a look inside the daily lives of some of our trauma team members. Today, we’re following Jessica File, ANP-BC, a trauma and acute care services nurse practitioner at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Jessica File, ANP-BC, has been a member of the trauma and acute care surgery team for nearly two years and says every day is unique. She’s one of six trauma and acute care surgery nurse practitioners at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing and is a board certified adult nurse practitioner, which allows her to do such things as prescribe medications and order diagnostic tests.
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As File starts her 10-hour shift, she reviews the status of patients and talks with nurses.
Then she participates in rounds with a multidisciplinary trauma and acute care surgery team made up of a variety of professionals, including other trauma nurse practitioners, physicians, residents, a pharmacist, a nurse coordinator with trauma and acute care services, and case management/social workers.
Today, Bradley Freeman, MD, a Washington University trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, leads the team, which works together to plan, update and implement a patient’s care plan. Over the next few hours, File and the team talk with 26 patients on the trauma and acute care surgery units. File also performs minor procedures as needed—on this day, she helps insert a nasogastric (NG) tube.
She says the number of trauma and acute care surgery patients they see during rounds constantly varies. For instance, in the week before we shadowed her, the team visited about 50 patients.
After rounds are finished on the trauma and acute care surgery units, File, Dr. Freeman and the residents are off to check on more of their patients staying in other areas of the hospital.
Throughout the day, File also is in communication with teams from other areas of the hospital, and she works with patients’ families. An important part of her job is to be a consistent link between her team and the patient so that trauma and acute care surgery patients receive the best care possible.
Once rounds are over, File and her fellow trauma nurse coordinators work together
to continue to assess and implement care plans for those who need treatment and coordinate discharges for patients who are ready to leave the hospital. Whether she works with her team or other professionals within the hospital, File says teamwork is what makes patient care seamless.
File says she never knows what a work day will include; each one is different. The one constant in her day is that she’s always on the go and has to be ready for anything—and she is always working to help fulfill the hospital’s mission: to take exceptional care of people.