What do ICU nurses do? - page 3

by mcpnurse 23,315 Views | 29 Comments

Hi. Pardon my ignorance. I'm interested in ICU and would like to learn more about what exactly nurses do in the ICU. What are some basic skills/ advanced skills required to become a successful ICU RN ? What responsibilities do... Read More


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    Quote from NB RN
    Every nurse is constantly learning, even if its refining already learned skills. Med Surge nurses need to get their patients to ICU because of the close monitoring environment that ICU provides. They simply do not have the technology to care for a deteriorating patient on a unit where the med surge nurse has 8 patients to care for. When patients take a turn for the worse, they need close monitoring and advanced care that the ICU provides. If your in nursing simply for the money, then I wouldn't want to transfer my patient to your care anyway.

    Love and Light to all.

    Nick
    I am well aware of the limitations that med surg nurses face in their daily wordays. My point is, that I have worked very hard to be a successful ICU nurse. Doctors also work hard to learn their specialties. The difference is that doctors have the power and political support to charge a fee that reflects the extra traing, education, and expertise that they have aquired to practice their specialty. They make sure that they are financialy rewarded for their efforts. They also have the option the only be family prectitioners in general practice and earn less money.

    The main difference is that GPs don't posture and complain about the cardiac surgeon who charges and earns several times what they do. they recognize that the cardiac surgeons has earned the higher fees that they charge with their additional training that they did. They do not place obstacles in the way of cardiologists and neurologists when they charge these fees. They do not try to justify that they should earn the same $$ that others earn who have pushed themselves to excell at a higher level of practice and care with the additional education and training.

    I did not go into nursing for the money. But neither did the cardiologist or the neurologist. But they earn more than the GPs. Why don't you complain about them going into medicine because they expected and demand the higher salary, and earn more than GPs.?

    Why don't you demand that the cardiologist lower his fees to what a GP earns? Because you would get laughed out of the room. Why don't nurses charge higher fees to reflect the higher level of care that they provide, the higher level of expertise that we possess, and the higher level of risk to our licenses?
    I pay a higher fee for malpractice insurance because the insurnace industry recognizes that risk. So do OB nurses.

    I resent the attitude of med surg nurses who feel that they should earn the dame as ICU nurses Do you do begrudge the cardiologist for charging more money than their GP does? I wish that I had a nickel for every time a doctor has told me that they cannot transfer a patient to the floor because they cannot take care of them the way ICU nurses do. I realize that the staffing has alot to do with this, but it also has to do with the knowledge and expertise that med surg nurses just do not have. . Yes, I shoud be paid more like the cardiogist is . Period.
    JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    LIndarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Last edit by lindarn on Dec 24, '09
    UsernameMe, CCL RN, chosen50, and 4 others like this.
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    Happy Holidays. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.
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    I personally like that I have two patients to pay very close attention to. Many of the places I work do not have CNA's in the ICU so the RN gets to do all the bathing, grooming, feeding (if possible), etc. We get to make the patient look as "pretty" as we can. Most ICU nurses I work with are territorial which is not said in a bad way. For example, I don't want other staff members messing in my patient's room because I like my room to be clean and in order, paying close attention to detail.

    It is entirely possible to have the same assignment two nights in a row and have two very different nights at work. You might assess, give the meds, bathe and turn your patient the first night and everything goes smoothly and you have 4-5 hours of free time and leave on time at the end of your shift.

    The next night your vitals can be completely unstable, maybe a trip or two to CT, the other patient gets loose from a restraint and rips out his arterial line, you're rapid infusing blood products or fluid, a graft pops on a fresh heart causing the patient to tamponade so the surgeon comes to the bedside and opens up the chest in the room while the other patient's sister has called the unit for the 8th time that shift asking "how is he doing?" and you have to try not to yell and instead say calmly "nothing has changed in the last 45 minutes." You then have to stay for an extra hour or two to finish charting and your own family is calling asking "when will you be done, we had plans tonight?!"
    Last edit by HDFXDWGRN on Jan 2, '10 : Reason: spelling error
    Hoozdo, CrufflerJJ, and lindarn like this.
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    ICU Nurses are exactly what the name impliess. Intensive Care. enough said
    PMFB-RN and lindarn like this.
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    I haven't gotten a raise in 21 months, and counting.
    UsernameMe and CCL RN like this.
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    That is so true! The docs just keep keeping them alive. They are not the ones who are there for 12 hours with them dealing with balancing all the drips to keep them going, seeing the patient suffer, seeing the family in distress over their loved one. When the family member asks "How is he/she doing?" sometimes I just want to cry. I see the quality of life down the road and hurt so much for them. I just wish the docs would step up to the plate sometimes.
    Hoozdo likes this.
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    they do nurse aid work, md work, housekeeping, public relations.
    they should never show they are overworked, flustered or upset.
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    What does an ICU nurse do? EVERYTHING! You keep your patient alive if that's the plan, you give them a dignified death if that's the way it goes, you take care of their families and you take care of each other and at the end of the day you walk out holding your head held high
    PMFB-RN likes this.
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    I remember when i was precepted 4 yrs. ago, my preceptor once told me... as an icu rn your job is to prevent your patient from coding. Basically you need great assessment skills and to be able to ask the md for what the pt. needs before they even see the pt. Good luck with transfering to the icu, it's a great place to be and you'll learn alot!!!
    senseiRN likes this.
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    You have to be a control freak because you control everything about your patient, their heart rate bp, breathing,pain, urine output, if they eat if they don't, if they move, if they poop...kind of get the picture?
    jtm11 and PMFB-RN like this.


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