What do you love/hate the most about working in the ICU?

  1. I have a 2nd interview this week for a job working weekend nights in the ICU at a local hospital. I am a new grad, and I did shadow a nurse in the ICU at a hospital where I had clinical awhile back so I have a vague understanding of what an ICU nurse does. But I am really interested in hearing from all you ICU nurses: what do you like the most about your job, and what do you like the least?
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    About SydneyJo1

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 273; Likes: 270
    Specialty: OB/GYN, Psych


  3. by   srna28
    There's a lot to like and a lot not to like about critical care, and it's different for everyone. Go into your first job just wanting to learn as much as you can, and go from there. Good luck!
  4. by   ICU, RN, BSN, B.S.
    I just started in the ICU 2 weeks ago. Today was only my 7th day in the unit, so I haven't been there too long to know a lot about what I really love or don't. But so far, I love that you are challenged. I like how you had 2-3 pts, most of the time 2 probably- and you get to focus all your attention of those 2 or 3 , instead of running around crazy taking care of 5 or 6 pts like on the floors. I also like how close the nurses seem to be. I like how we can see in each pts room and how they are close to the nurses station too .
  5. by   detroitdano
    Love the awesome relationship with the docs. Most of ours are all in fellowships and they know their stuff by now. You can give them the lowdown on the situation with your patient, say what you want to give and 9 times out of 10 they'll stand behind you on it. You come to know some docs and what they'll let you manage without an order. Most of ours will let us send labs, ABG's, start pressors, hang fluids, etc. without caring if we had an order first, they know we're just doing what's good for the patient. Try that on the floors and the docs flip out.

    Love the challenge. Some days it stinks not taking a break or after 12 hours realizing you're so dehydrated you only visited the toilet once, but when you leave you feel good about yourself, knowing you spent half a day keeping someone's husband, someone's son, alive so they can try and fight to make it through another day. You unfortunately see lots of people die and it takes a toll on you some days, but my coworkers are all supportive and sometimes a little black humor keeps you planted. You have to be that way or you'll never make it, we're surrounded by death.

    I don't really hate anything about the job. I hate being bogged down with tasks that don't challenge you, but not every day is a challenge either. Some weeks we're like a glorified nursing home, others like this past week, I have definitely earned my pay.
  6. by   SydneyJo1
    Thanks for all the feedback!! I love hearing stuff like this--it makes me want this job even more!!
  7. by   BonewaxRN
    I really hated working with patients who were psychotic/disoriented/demented yet mobile. The constant struggle to keep them from pulling out lines was agonizing. Sometimes it seems like more than you can do just to keep them in the bed or up in a chair. A male yanking out a foley with the balloon still inflated. Another patient stripping naked, raising the bed up as high as it would go, and standing up in the bed, wearing his O2 mask as a hat. The hypokalemic woman who smeared feces all over herself and then crawled into bed with another patient, who did not appreciate the gift he was being given.

    What I loved was the camaraderie, how very interesting it all was, and having the chance to focus on two or three patients in depth and total care.
  8. by   flo136
    I have been doing ICU for 15 years.

    I love making such a difference to lives. When they are rapidly deteriorating, and everyone is so busy doing stuff to save them. That adrenaline rush is the best!

    But I hate the equipment that doesn't work. And access lines in the patient that don't work. It can take up so much time sorting that out ,when you could be doing far more useful things.
  9. by   montinurse
    I love what everyone else has mentioned above.
    I "dislike" when family members get used to the higher level of care, and continue to demand that level of care (for themselves more than anything) while the patient is on the mend, changed to stepdown, etc. I "dislike" how family members don't realize there are other critical patients in the ICU, and are not respectful of other's needs.
    By far there are many more loves than hates, just thought I'd mention my hates
  10. by   armyicurn
    For me, it is the lazy GS (civilians) that call off like it is the plague and nothing is done about it. We have 2 to 4 call offs at any given time. During the holidays, they sure are ready to work or pretend to work b/c is double time for them.

    Lack of pride and getting the job done is another one. Some of my coworkers will take report at 0700, BS for 30 minutes with another coworker and then sit down and write their assessment without even going inside the room!

    I will second everything DetroitDano has said.

    I will stop here and let someone else add theirs.

    Good luck!