A nurse is working on a postpartum unit and is just beginning her shift for the day. She is caring for the following patients. Which of the patients described should the nurse see first?


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- A 24-year-old patient who has had a large amount of lochia and has developed a hematoma on her perineum

- A 20-year-old patient who just had her first baby and doesn't know how to breastfeed

- A 27-year-old diabetic patient who delivered her second child yesterday and needs her morning dose of insulin

- A 30-year-old patient who needs to take a shower and eat breakfast before the physician comes to dismiss her


Prioritization is a necessary component of nursing; often, a nurse must prioritize her tasks at the beginning of her shift and then re-evaluate throughout the day, depending on changes in patient status. A patient who is at the highest risk of complications should be seen first. In this case, the patient with a hematoma is at risk of hemorrhage and the nurse should assess her first.

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