• Blogs
  • A day in the life of a surgical nurse

A day in the life of a surgical nurse

28 September 2017 Blog
Meet our caregivers
Surgical nurses have to be trained in a lot of different areas as they care for orthopaedic, ENT, general surgery, plastic surgery, urology, oncology, breast reconstructions, and lung CA patients. We sat down with Surgical Nurse Deb Roccisano to discuss what a 'typical' day on a surgical ward looks like.

We arrive at 6:45am and check the diary for our allocation. We start the day with a five-minute handover, then go onto the wards to do bedside handover. This is very patient focused, it involves introducing ourselves, checking safety equipment (oxygen and suction check) and progress charts.  


At St John of God Bendigo Hospital we team nurse, we have two nurses to eight patients.


The mornings involve nursing rounds which covers the following

  • head to toe assessment
  • vital signs, drains provacs and IDC’s
  • administer patient medicine as required
  • place names on white board in patient room (communication tool)
  • assist them with using the toilet, set them up for breakfast (sitting up in bed) for 8:00am service.

The hospital is trialing protected meal times on the surgical ward and our nurses assist patients with their breakfast depending on patients coloured trays.


After breakfast we attend to activities of daily living (ADL’s) - brush teeth, make patients bed, often we need to wait for physiotherapists to assess our patients before getting out of bed.


We then attend to each of our eight patients to make sure they are comfortable and free from pain. We do this every hour for the duration of the shift.


Lunch is served at 12:00pm. We make sure patients are sitting comfortably and assist with protected meal times. 


After lunch we administer any medicine if needed and continue to do our rounding.


In between caring for our patients we also need to take care of the following:

  • Discharging patients - organising patients who are able to leave hospital that day and giving them any education they require, along the medicine and follow up appointments.
  • Taking calls about patients who need to be admitted from the emergency department, Bendigo Health, home or from theatre.
  • Bringing patients from recovery to the ward.

Handover for night shift staff is at 2:35pm.  Before we finish our shift at 3:06pm, we do a drug count and attend to any in-services.


I work with a great team at St John of God Bendigo Hospital, and I genuinely love coming to work each day to care for patients in our community.

St John of God Health Care
Deb Roccisano - Nurse Unit Manager
Deb Roccisano is the Nurse Unit Manager and surgical nurse at St John of God Bendigo Hospital.