I am working as a nursing student in a trauma ICU (Level I) this summer. I know I'm getting great exposure that will prepare me to be a competent critical care nurse when I graduate (my immediate goal) but I'm wondering if it's the best preparation for NA school which is my long term goal.

So here's what I've observed so far: most patients are vented, all are sedated with versed or propofol, all are on a fentanyl drip, some are on a vecuronium drip, and all have fluid volume issues and are receiving fluid resuscitation. Many have ARDS, some are on CVVH, quite a few have PA catheters.

But my only concern is that we don't use many vasoactive drips. If a pt becomes hypotensive then we just give a fluid bolus (or several) of LR or NS. There are occasions when a pt becomes septic and goes on a Neo or Levophed drip, but these are rare.

I guess it just seems like there isn't a lot of very active drip titration and vent weening going on in the unit. And most of the time pts' have normal EKGs and overall cardiac function. That being said we do get great experience with ensuring adequate CPP in head traumas. Plus, I totally love going down to the ER for emergent resuscitation in the trauma bay! And we do administer quite a bit of blood products.

I am totally willing to admit that I am young, still in school, and could have the wrong impression so I am just asking for your thoughts and advice. I think I might check out the cardio-thoracic ICU for a good comparison.

Thanks in advance for your advice.