Why is Nursing a Great Career? Behind the Scenes of the Nursing Profession

Committing to a nursing education can be frightening if you don’t understand your new chosen career and what you will be doing on a daily basis. Take a look behind the curtain of the nursing profession so you can feel confident about committing to earning your second degree from a nursing program Tampa Bay. Learning some more about what a typical nurse will see in the ICU, ER or other departments provides you with a valuable opportunity to really understand what your future nursing career will look like.

Here, our nurse blogger explains why nursing is a great career and what the Golden Hour in nursing is.

“The Golden Hour” in nursing is a phrase that often has young nurses questioning “What exactly is the Golden Hour?” here’s a quick, no fuss way of better understanding what this term actually means.


What is the Golden Hour?

The Golden Hour, as it pertains to medicine (did you know there is a term in photography that also refers to the Golden Hour? Who knew!?), generally refers to the hour from the time of impact to the time a patient will have a surgical intervention. Trauma patients tend to decline rapidly, specifically leading to shock (we’ll touch on that in a bit here). The theory of The Golden Hour is to improve patient outcomes. Obviously the outcome we’re trying to avoid here is death, so eyes on the clock, guys and gals! No, actually eyes (and focus) on the patient, people. Traumas are paralleled in symmetry with a code, and those experienced in the ways of codes (I’m counting the ‘I’ll stand in the corner and observe’ as experience here) know that there’s always someone documenting, and they’ll be very persistent in reminding you of the time gone by.

Relying on the Golden Hour to Prevent Shock

You might be asking yourself, “now why all the rush?” I like to teach new graduate nurses, and anyone who wants to learn a new topic for that matter (including myself) the ‘whys’ of everything. I think it allows you to retain it better. It’s all about preventing shock, and with the trauma patient you could be looking at neurogenic shock (injury/trauma to the spinal cord and/or brain) or hemorrhagic shock, which is severe loss of body fluid (think blood loss here), and this can be from trauma, surgery, severe burns, etc. You can even have a patient who is so dehydrated from vomiting that he or she goes into hemorrhagic shock. And this is where your poor patient’s problems only begin. Initially they’ll have:

  • a drop in blood pressure, which results in:
  • a loss of blood to the organs, which then results in:
  • multi-system organ failure (imagine your patient on the ventilator from respiratory failure, receiving continuous dialysis from kidney failure, throwing dysrhythmias and a new EF of 20% from heart failure).

So we don’t want that, or we don’t want as close to that as possible for our patient, because we want positive outcomes.

Breaking Down the Golden Hour

The Golden Hour begins at time of injury, not time of arrival to the emergency department. If it’s a long extrication (meaning it takes a long time to extricate the patient from the vehicle in which they were driving) you can imagine that, statistically, these patients don’t have those positive outcomes we are hoping and working towards. As a trauma ICU nurse, we always cover this in nursing report because it’s a very important piece of information. It helps the nurse understand what’s going on and piece the pathophysiology together.

Working as a Team

Survival rates are a lot higher when you get to the emergency department quickly to receive a higher level of care. This could mean by helicopter …get ‘em in fast! However there are many, many regions that don’t have this as an option, and they’ll get there as quickly as possible with the local ambulance or fire department service. The idea here is to get ‘em gone as quickly as possible from the scene of the accident. Paramedics are highly skilled and highly valued members of the medical community, but the idea isn’t to stay and treat at the scene; it’s to get them in to the hospital. Keeping that in mind, the trauma patient will usually come in intubated from the field by these skilled men and women. Airway management is of the highest priority in the first few minutes (perfusion! perfusion! perfusion!) Keeping all this in mind, the clock is still ticking.

When the patient arrives to the emergency department, there will be a large team awaiting to help them. Even though the clock is against them, a highly skilled team is waiting to help and heal them.

The Golden Hour is a nursing term, and as discussed above, is a fundamental and instrumental practice in the saving of lives. It’s a good concept to familiarize yourself with as you start out your nursing career.

Speaking with or reading blogs of currently-employed registered nurses is a great way to understand what your nursing career will look like, as well as get some advice on starting and maintaining a successful nursing career. If you are interested in more information on why nursing is a great career, contact us to speak to an advisor today.

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