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This is a discussion on Has anyone worked as a tech on an IMC unit? in Patient Care Technician / Assistants (PCT/PCA), part of Nursing Student ... i work as a pca on a tele/med surg floor, but i decided to pick up at another location and they put...by tele queen Feb 7, '12i work as a pca on a tele/med surg floor, but i decided to pick up at another location and they put me on the imc unit. can anyone tell me their experience with working on the imc or what your typical day on that unit would consist of? i know it is a step down from the icu, but i still don't know what to expect...
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- Feb 8, '12 by inthedistrictYes, before school, and LOVED it. I didn't have an tech experience, and I worked under an EMT license, didn't have a CNA, so there was a steep learning curve, but it was doable and exciting.
I was in a 14-bed medical IMC in an inner-city hospital, and the only tech on the shift (w. a 2-to-1 nursing ratio, but trust me, that's only because everyone was incredibly sick and needed that much care).
I'm sure it varies from hospital to hospital, but I was responsible for q2 vitals on every patient (made easier by tele), accuchecks (usually 8-10), turning, bathing, ADLs, and then everything else that needed another set of hands.
Usually come in at 3, light restocking, answer a call bell or two, do 4 pm vitals & accuchecks on all patients, and dealing with whatever I walked in to (bathroom, water, need to get nurse, request for pain meds), then trays came, feed who needs it, change one or two people, turn some people, 6 pm vitals, change some people, clean some people, turn some people, get sent to check on some people, do an EKG or 3 for the new admissions, then shift change, so filling the nurses in on what I saw during the day as they oriented, run down for blood, then 8 pm vitals, then more accuchecks, 2-3 patient baths, some dinner, transfer a patient, then 10 pm vitals, another couple of last minute requests from nurses, then home.
On the IMC I saw EVERYTHING medical. Expect almost everyone to be total care, with lots of tubes, wires, and IVs to deal with. Lots of trach patients, lots of patients with GI issues (some shifts, you'll feel like all you do is clean patients. No sooner are they rolled on to clean sheets then they go again). You'll see all sorts of complex medical issues and co-morbid conditions. Psych, auto-immune, cancer, lots of COPD, hypo-/hyper- everything in the body, lots of renal failure, people going thru the DTs dementia, DKA, end-stage AIDs,....usually these people have been sick a long time, so get ready for some textbook-worthy bed sores. You'll really be trained to be alert for small changes in status. See a lot of codes called. Prepare people for the morgue. Etc, etc, etc.
Plus, you'll learn how to read a room, you'll get really good at handling difficult patients and families, and you'll get to practice being an advocate as you advocate to the nurses. It's such a high-stress place for patient's and families, and requires a big emotional IQ.
Honestly, you are really lucky! It's such great experience for a student. Warning you now, it's unusual for me to sit down for a TOTAL of 45 minutes a shift. Meals are eaten in about 5 minutes, 15 if we're really slow. During shift change I'd get to sit by the call bell for maybe 20 minutes, between interruptions, and by the end I could usually pull up a chair in a pts room when taking vitals, but that's brief. But, that's ok. It will FLY by. And some nights, esp. the overnight, you can get a little more breathing room.
I think the unit staff will make all the difference. I lucked out-- my nurses were AWESOME to me, and taught me a lot. Show an interest, ask questions, and you'll really pick up a lot. If there was time, and a cool procedure, I'd always be called in to watch. If I was with a nurse in a room, he or she would make sure to explain to me step by step what they were doing, or explain the rational. I think they were also excited by my excitement-- of course, it feels good to have someone really admire your job!
Best of luck-- I'm jealous. I miss the fun of the floor and can't wait to get back out there as an RN.