After 11 years of designing medical-surgical nursing units, I recently had the opportunity to spend a day observing one nurse through most of a shift. Don’t get me wrong, I had a solid grasp of the fundamentals of the typical nursing routine, thanks to years of learning from experienced colleagues and user-group meetings. But in eight hours of direct observation, I saw and learned things that had never come up in past conversations. Here are eight valuable lessons I learned from observing a nurse I’ll call Angela: