I have been a nurse for just over 3 yrs & thought it'd be a good idea to get some critical care experience, especially since I am considering an MSN/GNP program next yr. I picked neuro rather than CT/CV, MICU, or SICU b/cI have experience w/ this pt population from a previous job in an inpatient rehab unit. I didn't think it would be a piece of cake by any means, however, I was not prepared for this. I realize I'll have good & bad days no matter what I do, but I'm having more bad days than good & I've been here for 2 months. I don't want to leave the unit, as I think critical care experience (especially at this particular hospital) will look great on my resume & provide great opportunities to learn. Any advice &/or survival tips from seasoned neuro ICU nurses?
Nov 16, '09
Im not seasoned but Im starting in a similar unit and one thing that we have to learn is the NIH Stroke Scale. Its chock full of different neuro assessments that most stroke centers have to do in certain intervals but it is also a nice tool box of assessment tools to bring out if your patient is deteriorating.
Where are your difficulties? Is it organization and prioritization? Is it just that you dont know the diseases and medications?
Dont forget that many nurses say the first year in the ICU is the worst.
Good luck to you. I am looking forward to responses to this post from the icu gurus too
Nov 24, '09
I work in a Surgical Trauma Neuro ICU and have so for 5 years now....The BEST advice I can give you is to keep at it. If you don't know what it is, ask. If you have never heard of it before, look it up. If you have never seen it before, get a second look. Neuro patients are very complex and involve meticulous assesments that the layman RN would most likely miss and even seasoned ICU RN's can miss if complacent.
You do not have to read journals or other books to become a decent neuro ICU RN. Most of the time you can just "get by" the shift and pass the patient onto the next RN...However, if you want to be a good neuro RN you HAVE to stay up to date with new approaches of care and at the very least become VERY competent in the interventions that your unit uses such as bolts, ventrics, caminos, pent coma's, lumbar drains, rotorest beds.....
After 5 years, I cannot say that I am ever comfortble with the "neuro" patient. They can change anytime, one second they'll be decerebrate the next decorticate and before you know it they'll be following commands (of course an exaggeration!!) however that is the life of the neuro ICU RN....
and lastly remember the golden rule.....Keep em alive till 06:45!!