How Physically Demanding is PICU?

  1. 0
    I've been an Emergency Department nurse for about 12 years and I love it. Right now I'm dealing with a back injury (herniated lumbar disk) and I'm afraid I may not be able work in the ED for quite some time. The ED is such heavy work and so fast paced, therefore incredibly hard on the back. I've been considering the PICU for years anyway, as I'm always drawn towards the pediatric patients in the ED. Just how heavy (literally) is a PICU workload? I know you have adult sized patients at times. And if you're working in the San Francisco Bay area (south peninsula) area, can you recommend where to get trained?
    Thanks
  2. 4,591 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Honestly, it is not light work at all in my opinion. Even with the 2 kg kiddo, you might have to do the "bag and drag" to CT/ MRI ect- you're pushing beds/pumps ect. Then you have the 100 kg 15 yr old "children"- I swear they are getting bigger nowdays! Many PICU pts are heavily sedated and muscle relaxed so there is still alot of turning and pulling up in bed. Days get crazy- codes or kids who need to come stat to the unit so you have to hurry and throw one out to the floor- more pushing equipment/beds and running around breaking your back. These things happen more than than they do not!
    Also, we do not have the luxury of the "lift" equipment like the adult world has. PICU really is a pretty fast pace most days and I really don't think I could do my job with a herniated disk.
    Good luck and I hope you feel better!
    Canadian Girl likes this.
  5. 0
    The prevailing attitude of our administration (our unit is primarily cardiovascular, so lots of infants and toddlers) is that all our patients are small and can be turned by one person, so we're not staffed to properly and safely turn and reposition teenagers and bigger tweens. One week in the summer we had four kids all weighing more than 65 kg on the unit, all but one were multitraumas (and the other one, in septic shock, had a syndrome and didn't have any self-care abilities at all) and we had to pull people from all over the unit to turn them. Now we're getting more and more patients with Berlin hearts and the Ikus driver is HEAVY and steers like a tank.

    Today we had a patient who arrested twice, needing >60 minutes of compressions the first time. Multiple previous CV surgeries = ++ adhseions and a chest like a cinder block. One nurse who did compressions said she felt like she'd pushed a jumbo jet up a hill.

    If your back is really bad, maybe you should think about NICU or intermediate care nursery. It's still not the perfect solution but those kids are generally not taken anywhere without an entourage.
  6. 0
    Quote from janfrn
    The prevailing attitude of our administration (our unit is primarily cardiovascular, so lots of infants and toddlers) is that all our patients are small and can be turned by one person, so we're not staffed to properly and safely turn and reposition teenagers and bigger tweens. One week in the summer we had four kids all weighing more than 65 kg on the unit, all but one were multitraumas (and the other one, in septic shock, had a syndrome and didn't have any self-care abilities at all) and we had to pull people from all over the unit to turn them. Now we're getting more and more patients with Berlin hearts and the Ikus driver is HEAVY and steers like a tank.

    Today we had a patient who arrested twice, needing >60 minutes of compressions the first time. Multiple previous CV surgeries = ++ adhseions and a chest like a cinder block. One nurse who did compressions said she felt like she'd pushed a jumbo jet up a hill.

    If your back is really bad, maybe you should think about NICU or intermediate care nursery. It's still not the perfect solution but those kids are generally not taken anywhere without an entourage.
    Thanks for the insight. Can you tell me what it's like to work in the NICU? It looks like you've worked there as well. My passion is kids and babies and critical care. I'd love to know what you love and what you may not enjoy about the NICU.
  7. 0
    i have nights at the end of my picu shift when i feel like i've been hit by a mack truck. i don't think i could do this with chronic back problems, but i work with a few that do, god bless them, i have no idea how. i agree that nicu or a specialized toddler/infant floor (or children's hospital separates general care floors by age) could be the way to go. i float to our nicu a lot. it's a very different world from the rest of the hospital. stable babies who just need to grow are grouped in 2s and 3s for assignments, and all care is clustered in 3 or 4 hour blocks to allow the immature infant as much hands of time as possible. neonates don't like a lot of stim, so the nicu is quiet, dark and warm (kicks my butt on night shift). more critical babies also get minimal stim, but are still keeping you on your feet a lot, depending on what's wrong with them. the lift load, however, is optimal for a bad back.
  8. 0
    Thank you. Interesting. So different than what I'm used to. Take care.


Top