Switching to ortho- advice please!

  1. Hi everyone! I’m about to start a new job in an orthopedic critical care unit. I’m really excited about this new job, and wanted to ask some experienced ortho nurses what I should know about starting in ortho and what to expect. My nursing background is in surgical step down- I’ve taken care of some ortho patients (THR, TKR) but not too many, and know that pain control is a big part of patient care. Any tips and advice would be appreciated, thanks!
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   mmc51264
    Working in critical care will suit you well. I think one of the biggest thing with pain control is that tylenol is greatly underrated and getting an accurate hx of their pain med usage. (we had a pt who had been taking up to 500 mg of illegal oxy a day-our 15-20mg Q3H was NOT going to cut it!) Also alcohol use is important and starting a CIWA/ETOH protocol on anyone suspected of it. They can crump quick.

    S/S of dvt/PE/compartment syndrome are important too.
  4. by   chiromed0
    Ehh...you'll be fine. I came from critical care to ortho. They are more pain med lenient here but they are also alive so I'll take the trade-off. Got real tired of every patient teeter tottering on getting better/worse. Other than some specific ortho things like tractioning, ambulation, wound care it's not much different. Suprisingly, I'm not seeing many PCA pumps...I thought I would. Meds seem to be the same and more related to the pharmacy/hospital formulary than specific to ortho. Here, for abx and pain meds it seems to be real cookie cutter. I enjoy it more but it's almost boring compared to critical care.

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