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MattK
02-16-2011, 09:10 PM
I'd love to hear what it's like being a nurse in the ICU...

bettermj
02-16-2011, 09:30 PM
I'd love to hear what it's like being a nurse in the ICU...

depends......... can be 12 hours of cleaning someone's projectile diarrhea for 7 days in a row with the family of your other patient interrupting you to go see if you can get them some ice cream or lend them a dollar

Or, it could be much less fun. Depends if you see the glass 1/2 full like me, or 1/2 empty

Note to self..... don't reveal what the glass is full OF.

Go spend a couple of 12 hour shifts with a busy ICU nurse. If you can't see yourself doing that for the rest of your life, try another unit..... still can't see yourself doing that, then you might not want to pursue CRNA. jmo

malenurse
02-16-2011, 09:51 PM
thsi is a very broad question, there are so many aspects of what its like to work in the ICU. Bottom line, ITS INTENSE! You gotta love what you do for sure. You have to be warped, twisted, compassionate, and smart all in one. To start orientation is a long time. Once your off orientation new nurses usually go to the night shift, its a pecking order thing. Most ICU's have a high turnover/burnout rate. A lot of nurses that come through move onto further education and ICU experience is one of those requirements. So friends can come and go. Some things vary too, I personally work in a teaching hospital and work nights. So the pulmologist isnt usually in house. The Residents are. This can be a scary thing, they are learning just like a new nurse is, but they dont have someone looking over them all the time like a new RN. So with that being said you gotta know what you may need at times. And yes you gotta be aggressive, I see about 30 new snot nosed babies fresh outta med school with the tags still on their lab coats, yet they think that they have md, after their name they know all. i cant tell you how many times I have called the attending over the resident and refused to do some of their orders. Usually when this is the case it is a collaborative decisions with other nursess and i.

As far as the type fo cases you will see, well that depends on what kind of ICU you go into. MICU, SICU, CCU, Trauma ICU, etc. Bottom line you are the cats ass of nursing in the hospital (my opinnion). In my hospital an icu nurse responds to all rapid responses and CPR's. So you have to know your ACLS. I go to other units to start IV's ng, foley's etc. Over time you develop a level of confidence, some people call it cocky. But alas I would never want a nurse taking care of me who wasnt confident in his or her work. I never seen an ICU nurse freeze in a emergent situation, its like second nature for them to act.

An ICU has to have tough love, being able to tell a patient and or family no, for the better ment of their health. Im not there to be a maid, get coffee for families, and take walks at 3 am, or get up to the chair for three mins and then decide to go back to bed. Families are another issue to deal with, granted you meet people are their worst in their life. But I know in nursing school you are told that you never tell a family that the patient has passed. In reality I wish that was the case, Ive done it twice and its sucks bottom line. You have to be compassionate to families and their are some pretty crazy people out there. No day is ever the same, I have been spit on, kicked, slapped, punched, and puked on.

ICU can be a depressing place for sure their is a lot of death, and gore. But about 90 percent of the time you are helping people and you can see the changes happen. you get patients that are train wrecks and within a week they are taking to you. Amazing.

Its hard to compare ICU to rest of the units, every nurse will say that their unt is the best. But in reality its apples and oranges. Cant be compared. You got to be able to have an open mind, i know icu nurses that been their for 25 years know ALOT and they still aske each other questions.

I have been in CCU/ICU for four yesrs now, and I still havent see everything or know hardly anything. Anybody can code at any point and you have to be ready and be three steps ahead, who to call what to do etc. I love what I do, in fact when I leave for crna school it will be tough to walk away. You become well respected in among the doctors and they have a tendency to believe your issues more, and trust you more than a floor nurse ( no disrespect but thats the way it is, sorry.)

I could ramble on but be more specific about "what its like", and hopefully I can go into detail on other things, I hope this message doesnt come across in a negative manner. bottom line ICU is awesome. I wouldnt trade it for the world. I am not a surgeon, nor do I have my MD, Im a nurse and ive assisted in emergent chest re-entries, and other surgical procedures. Its fun.

PS I apologise for the grammer, its 1 am and im spent. Im sacrificing the time to edit in place of sleep.

Alrn1980
02-17-2011, 06:26 AM
It sucks

daredevilip
02-17-2011, 06:48 AM
It depends which ICU you're in. malenurse had a well-balanced explanation, I would describe it the way he did. It also depends if you work in a community hospital (where your autonomy can be very limited) or in a teaching hospital (where you practically have to know your stuff because like malenurse pointed out, some residents' orders don't make sense).
I've worked in both hospitals, a community-general ICU (with diff types of ICU cases-med/surg/neuro/ccu/cvicu/burn--no trauma) and a teaching-CTICU (open hearts, VADs, transplants). I had and still has a better experience in the latter. When I was a new grad, I was eager to learn everything that ICU had to offer but since I started in a community hospital, i was limited to vent and neuro patients (PNA, stroke, resp failure types) and they wouldn't train me with hearts til i'm 5 years in ICU. They only do about 3 hearts a week. I was so bummed out and disillusioned with the hospital. After 1 1/2 years, I moved to a bigger teaching hospital in CTICU where they do heart cases as much as 8 in a day! I was like a kid in a candy store and got my first heart case as soon as i got off orientation. I absolutely love it. My learning curve skyrocket and still learn a bunch of things everyday. Unlike what malenurse said, I was fortunate enough to not have worked nights even as a new grad. Indeed, it is busier during the day (with scheduled procedures and eight million MD roundings) so you have to know how to organize, prioritize, multi-task safely and help other people (we don't have techs in the ICU).

If you're thinking if you should work in ICU, just do it..

jmr3475
02-17-2011, 05:55 PM
Just wanted to throw some things out there for this discussion. I have worked many years in large teaching county hospitals. It is very good experience and you learn an immense amount of information. It is true that you are the safety net around August of each year. The newbies just started in their internship/residency and we make sure they don't accidentally kill anyone. That being said, I have also worked in a small 12 bed community ICU and had more autonomy there than the big teaching hospitals. You are it. There is no intern/resident/chief resident in house 24 hours a day coming to fix the problems. There were times when the community hospital had docs on call and it was like hell trying to get them to return a phone call to inform them of their crashing patient. We would hang drips, get them intubated and stabilized and when the docs actually returned a call, we told them what was going on and what has been done. Also, if they would like anything else to be done. Large teaching hospitals are a great place to learn but don't think that all community type hospitals don't offer anything to learn also. You got to do your homework when looking at the smaller hospitals. I am sure there are small community hospital ICUs are more of a stepdown unit.

Burnt2
02-17-2011, 06:02 PM
I loved being an ICU nurse.

Schedule was awesome, having 2 high acuity patients allowed me to 1) spend plenty of time caring for them and 2) learning a lot about phys/pathophys of their diseases.

It could be difficult, but so can any job.

It beat working in the ER hands down.

River
03-02-2011, 10:16 AM
I love the unit, especially at night. At night being the charge nurse really means something beyond making assignments and sending people home on standby. It is a huge responsibility, larger at smaller hospitals because they don't have the resources of the metro-area...I have worked both. It's an environment where your mettle is tried every shift, and you learn to judge the abilities of other nurses based on their responses (or lack of) in crisis. It's a place where the ADN/BSN/MSN disappears and either you can hack it or you can't, because what matters is your skill at the bedside and not how many credit hours are on your transcript.

DaveCRNA
03-02-2011, 02:26 PM
depends......... can be 12 hours of cleaning someone's projectile diarrhea for 7 days in a row with the family of your other patient interrupting you to go see if you can get them some ice cream or lend them a dollar

Or, it could be much less fun. Depends if you see the glass 1/2 full like me, or 1/2 empty

Note to self..... don't reveal what the glass is full OF.

Go spend a couple of 12 hour shifts with a busy ICU nurse. If you can't see yourself doing that for the rest of your life, try another unit..... still can't see yourself doing that, then you might not want to pursue CRNA. jmo


I prefer to think of the Ass as half empty! :)

DaveCRNA
03-02-2011, 02:29 PM
ON a more serious note....I loved the challenge of the ICU. I loved that I (usually) could devote more time to my patients and know more about what was going on with them.

Some days (weeks, months), it can be a drag...if you've got patients that are difficult or families that are impossible...but for me...I still loved the challenge and how much I learned, everyday.

thasweepa
03-02-2011, 04:21 PM
I prefer to think of the Ass as half empty! :)

For my days in the ICU, the ass was ALWAYS half-full, and my rectal tubes were ALWAYS patent (i wish......)

agmedman
03-02-2011, 08:20 PM
For my days in the ICU, the ass was ALWAYS half-full, and my rectal tubes were ALWAYS patent (i wish......)

Love it!


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