ICU duties? - page 2

by jfpruitt

16,243 Views | 16 Comments

I'm looking at ICU nursing when I graduate. I have done a few hours shadowing in an ICU, but had a few questions for those nurses, can you tell me about your day? I know it can vary, but do you spend most of your day... Read More


  1. 0
    I went to the ICU right out of school and it is very tough. One thing that has helped me is that I continue to study critical care issues. I am a member of AACN and read their journals and get CEUs. I read books like the ICU Book by Paul Marino, Pass CCRN by Robin Dennison and index.
  2. 1
    Perhaps I have a different perspective but I think if ICU is what you want to do, you should go for it right out of school. Med-Surg nursing provides an excellent base, especially for time managment but little else in relation to ICU nursing. I graduated and went straight into ICU, we specialize in Liver/Kidney/K-P transplants and skills I would have gained on a M/S floor would have done little to prepare me for these types of patients. They majority of things we do like titrating multiple drips, managing the vent, etc, are things you will never do on a M/S floor, and the assessments are very different than on a typical M/S floor. This is in no way a slam on those nurses, they are amazing and it is something I could never do on a daily basis. Agree with first response, DO NOT be the nurse who sits around and watches monitors!!!!!
    SummitRN likes this.
  3. 0
    I agree with first post to I am an ICU assistant director and yes I still go out and work the floor and er, sometimes I work ortho, I like to float as a charge sometimes, it keeps me up on my skills, I still take a shift now and then on the chopper when there short handed a nurse or medic since I am on the crew as well, don't be the nurse who sits around it creates more work for the rest of us. And as for starting out in ICU straight from school, I have nothing against except you will probabley wish you had more experience. I started out in ER straight from school and I think it prepared me wonderfully for intensive care.
  4. 0
    When I was in school I knew I wanted to go into ICU. I shadowed with an ICU nurse (who is now my coworker) who said she only had a couple of months of MS before ICU and wished she had gotten more as it would have made her transition easier. I accepted a MS job in that hospital (and yes they hired some directly into ICU) and worked MS for 9 months or so before accepting a job in ICU. I personally feel my time on medsurg was beyond valuable. I was able to take the foundation knowledge I learned in school and develop my assessment and technical skills and then when I went to ICU it was "easier" to spot things going "bad". You have to know good to recognize when things are going bad lol!
    Another side note is I know people in school that thought for sure they wanted to be ER nurses, or OB nurses etc and accepted these jobs in those specialties and suprise, found out they hated it. If you have a year or so of MS and then transfer to ICU and find you HATE it it you have the foundation of MS to go to another dept and it seems as if going from MS to Er or OR etc is easier than going from OB to ICU...ya know?

    Kim
  5. 0
    I said I'd never work ICU, thereby ending up on Med/Surg/Onc for my first year or so and I never understood what the big deal with "getting that first year on the floor under your belt" was cause I just figured that the first year or so would be difficult no matter what floor you were on.

    However, now that I've been in ICU after working on the floor, I can see how I would have DIED if I'd tried to come here straight from school. I know it can be done and sometimes, done well, but that wouldn't have been the case for me.

    There's something to be said for that year on the floor.....
  6. 0
    1. This is generally if all works out how my nights go:

    -. Get to work look at the monitors see for anything super critical and note those pts.
    - Get report
    - assess pts and current needs
    -print meds sheets
    -give meds
    -look ahead for orders or meds I'll need for the night and try to get them early in the night so Im not calling and waking up if i dont have to.
    -note accu checks times, turn times, and other q how much time
    -chart
    -labs, review labs give prn replacements if needed
    -bathe, zero lines, cansiter changes, yanekr changes, etc.
    -suctioned pts at least q2 but usualyl more than that based on their needs
    -assess for tomorrow on days things they will need and try to plan/provide them
    -finish charting
    -report off

    (not always like that but those are some of my goals)

    2. Hardest part of my job?
    well my 2 worst nights, was one when i had to two crashing pts and everyone called out but me and the nurses they pulled were ****** they were pulled and refused to help me or my patients when I was brand new nurse.

    the other was a pt i admitted and was talking to have his aicd pacer keep going off and we called a code because we couldnt get an md there to let us intabate and knock this man out, I was torn up watching it shock him 10+ times. (md finally came and we completely knocked him out, that issue resolved but his poor cardiac situation never changed and he later died waiting for a ride outside the er, still breaks my heart till this day. hes was so sweet.)

    3. I'm a night shift nurse, its just what my body likes and my wallet.

    4. Most ICU nurses are known to be controlling, they like to control bp, HR, resp etc.. If your bp is crappy I'll create a better one.

    Hope this helps.
  7. 1
    In response to the discussion of going into ICU straight out of school, I just graduated and am working in a MICU, doing okay. BUT I strongly suggest working as a student in that unit. I work as a tech in an ICU then my school had a 5 week practicum at the end of senior year, where I spent all 5 weeks working with a nurse on the unit 36 hr/week. That helped a lot. So I would strongly suggest getting in there and getting experience, even if it's as a tech if you want to work ICU after graduation
    opossum likes this.


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