The Nursing Station is the center of all activities and communication of all medical practitioners in a specific area of a hospital. Each ward or unit in a hospital has its own nursing station where all of those responsible for the care of a client meet together to communicate regarding:
Ø New admissions and discharge from the ward.
Ø Update on a client’s status.
Ø Change in an order or medication.
Ø Assigning of clients to be handled by the nurse in a current shift for endorsement.
Each new admission in the ward is first screened in the nursing station. Chart is checked to see if there is an admission order, if the client’s current medical condition is appropriate for the ward, and to check the initial status of the client before being sent to the room assigned. If the client has with him any medications, the nurse takes note of this and audits the medication list of the client.
During the shift, a client may experience some health status changes. These changes are noted accordingly in the chart of the client and endorsed to the head nurse, or the client’s physician if present. Any significant decline in a client’s status is reported to any physician who is currently available at the station or through telephone communication.
A doctor may call The Nursing Station to order a change in the medication depending on the current health status of the client. The doctor may order an additional medication, reduction or increase of dose, or order a medication to be discontinued. It is preferred that the order is done in the nursing station for the chart of the client is within reach and any change can be immediately noted.
Each shift, a nurse may have to take care of the same client, have a new client, or have reduction of client assignment if a client has been discharged. The head nurse of the ward will endorse the client assignment in the nursing station and state any changes the number of assigned clients to the concerned nurse. Afterwards, the nurses will now leave the confines of the nursing station and proceed with the endorsement from the previous shift.
Other activities in the nursing station
There are other activities in the nursing station that is important when taking care of clients within the ward:
Ø Charting: all charting in the client’s record is done in the nursing station. This ensures accuracy of entry as well as maintaining client privacy.
Ø Preparing of medications: the nursing station is safer and cleaner than the rooms of the client and any other areas in the hospital. Preparing medications in the nursing station ensures that the medication is clean and safe from any contamination that can harm the client.
Ø Writing prescriptions: Nurse Practitioners and doctors always write prescriptions in The Nursing Station for several purposes:
o The chart of the client is located within the nursing station. The doctor or Nurse Practitioner will be able to note if the medication being prescribed is currently the medication needed by the client or has been discontinued.
o The nursing station has a medicine cabinet stocked with the necessary medication of the client. The doctor and the nurse on duty will be able to know if the medication is available in the station or the prescription has to be sent to the pharmacy
Ø Collection of laboratory specimens and results: lab exams such as CBC, blood chemistry, urinalysis, and stool analysis can be requested by the doctor to check the status of the client. The obtained samples are given to the nursing station for proper labeling and documentation to be sent to the laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will then give the results to the nursing station for the nurse to endorse to the client’s physician.
Ø Third-party communication: relatives of the client can go to the nursing station and ask for the current state of the client without waiting for the nurse or doctor to go into the client’s room. This way, the exchange will be made without disturbing the client or other clients admitted to the ward, especially when there is a dispute about the care given or hospital fees.
Ø Visitor screening: visitors are closely monitored in the nursing station, especially when the client has given an order of allowing only family to enter the room, or no one at all. This is especially important when a client is admitted with a
Most equipment that are used to provide proper nursing and medical care can be found in the nursing station. These equipments include but not limited to:
Ø Medication cart: this holds all the medications of all the clients admitted in the ward. This has a security feature that allows only authorized personnel like medication nurses and doctors to access its contents.
Ø Emergency cart/Crash cart: holds all necessary equipment for emergency situations such as defibrillator, cardiac board, emergency medications, ECG monitoring device, and laryngoscope.
Ø Patient monitoring equipment/Nurse call console: depending on the ward, there are different monitoring systems that are applied to observe the status of the clients. Some recovery rooms have a monitoring system that monitors the cardiac and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature of the client that gives off an alarm when significant changes occur or if a monitoring apparatus is improperly placed. A call system is also located in the nursing station that indicates which room is requesting for assistance. Some modern hospitals have surveillance equipment in each room and nurses can closely observe the client without the need to disrupt the client while resting or sleeping.
Ø Communication devices: telephones, fax machines, intercoms can be seen in the nursing station. These enables fast communication between the nurse and other health care providers assigned to take care of the client’s needs. Near the telephone is the list of contact numbers of all the residents and other key medical personnel that is in charge with the medical regimen of the client.
Ø Computer and printer: modern hospitals use a specified program for charting and doing nursing care plans for the client. Aside from that, client information is stored in the computer for easy access. It also has records of admissions, discharges, and requests made within the ward. Generated information that is then printed and filed for later review.
Ø Reference books: medical books, nursing and drug references can be seen on the station for review when studying a client’s case and to countercheck the effects of a drug prescribed to the client.
Ø Other medical equipments: this includes but not restricted to:
o Cotton balls
o Tubes and cannula
o Bandage scissors
o Adhesive bandages
o IV equipments
Ø Chart holder: this is where the charts of the clients in a ward are stacked in an orderly manner that can be easily seen and accessed by the health care team.
Other features to consider
A nursing station is ideally divided into sections for nurses and physicians. Each area is assigned so each can work individually without disrupting the work of the other. While the nurses prepare the medication, the doctors can review and write orders in the chart in a different area. This would create a more relaxed working station that is conducive in giving proper client care. The nursing station should also have an area where medical practitioners can wash their hands before and after client contact to prevent spread of infection.