Quote from augigi
A day in the life in my CVICU was usually:
1. Take report on the patient and check all infusions with the outgoing nurse.
2. Do a complete assessment of the patient and document (neuro obs, ausculating lung, heart and abdo sounds, skin integrity, peripheral pulses etc)
3. Check all equipment on the patient (nitric oxide tank, ventilator settings, zero all pressure transducers, IABP/VAD, chest/wound drains, IDC etc)
4. Document - complete assessment and equipment checklists
5. Check the drug chart and write myself a list of what is due when
6. Attend rounds and make any adjustments (ordering different nasogastric feeds, changing infusions etc)
7. Reassess patient whenever anything significant changes
- Wound care/repositioning as required
- Suctioning as required
- Adjusting ventilator/IABP as required
- Dealing with family/visitors - lots of teaching about monitors etc
- Organising and transporting if tests such as CT required
- Performing and interpreting ECG as required
Basically, you do everything for this patient. We do not have aides etc in ICU, so we were it for the patient (we had help to reposition if required). Everything you learn in med-surg, in a lot more depth in much sicker patients!
That is pretty much what we do too...
I am currently working in a SICU and somedays it is very overwhelming.
Every 4 hours we have to do a full head to toe assessment.
Every 4 hours we have to print off EKG strips and analyze them.
Every 2 hours we have to assess our patients for pain.
Every 2 hours you have to do treatments such as suctioning, repositioning, etc.
We have to do strict I/O, and we have to calculate those either every 4 or every 8 hours.
Depending on our patient we have to do neuro checks anywhere from every 1-4 hours.
We have to do vitals every 1-2 hours.
Every time you move a patient, you have to rezero all their equipment such as ventriculostomies, A-lines, or whatever else they have.
On our floor we get a lot of different things such as ventriculostomies, A-lines, SWAN lines, Internal temp. monitors, ICP monitors, central lines, etc. We also deal with a lot of meds that are not usually found on other floors such as Neo, Pentobarbitol, Levophed, Dopamine, Insulin, TPN, etc.
Just like the person above me said, the patients you deal with in the ICU are a lot sicker and even simple things like turning them could cause serious issues. I had a patient bottom out one time because they couldn't tolerate being turned. I personally really like working in the SICU, because I really enjoy the challenge of it.