A day in the life of a nurse in the minor injuries unit

Minor injury units (MIUs) can treat a range of conditions which have occurred during the previous 14 days. These include sprains and strains; broken bones; minor burns and scalds; head injuries (but not if someone is unconscious); insect and animal bites and stings; minor eye injuries, cuts, bruising and grazes.

The role of a MIU practitioner consists of the assessment and treatment of a multitude of different patients presenting with a range of minor injuries of differing severity. In the evenings and weekends we also assess and treat various minor illnesses.

Our day starts at 8am with routine checks of emergency equipment and controlled drugs; although, it’s not unusual for people to be waiting for us to open.

This morning, we’ve treated a patient who has struggled since the weekend when she “went over” on her ankle on a wet bank. She sustained a stable fracture and, after fitting a support boot, she was referred on to the virtual fracture clinic for further assessment.

We’ve also seen a head injury from an overzealous rugby match at a local school!

Today’s steady start is a huge contrast to the hectic summer months. August is our busiest month – last year we saw 1,768 patients. We certainly felt the strain!

This afternoon, we’ve seen several ankle injuries and, utilising the adjoining x-ray department which will see patients who arrive in the unit before 4.30pm, helps to confirm our clinical examinations. The x-ray department is available Mondays through Fridays (excluding bank holidays).

Our shifts vary enormously on a day to day basis and emergency cases frequently present to minor injuries. We attempt to treat and stabilise patients before transferring them to higher levels of care by ambulance.

The unit closes at 10pm and although we aren’t required to, we’ll often stay on to complete patients’ treatment.