Nursing Care in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit

  1. 0
    Hi there,

    I am in the process of selecting my senior practicum site for my BSN. I am considering requesting the PICU at a local Level I trauma center. I love psych nursing, but I also want to be sure that I get a chance to practice my critical care skills; managing multiple lines, titration of meds, reading monitors, starting IV's, placing foleys/NG's, etc. I want all the stuff my cohot will be doing in Med/Surg, but with acute psych patients. Just trying to set myself up for success in a competitive job market!

    I would love to hear from any PICU nurses about what kinds of medical care they perform on a daily basis, and how transferable those skills are to other units. Hope my question doesn't sounds too naiive

    Thank you for any and all input!
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Feb 24, '13 : Reason: changed title for clarity
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Are you looking for a psychiatric intensive care unit? If that's the case I don't think that exists (though others can correct me if I am wrong). This forum however is for pediatric intensive care and so I'm not quite sure that is what you're looking for.
  5. 0
    PICU generally stands for pediatric intensive care. I have never heard of a psychiatric ICU. The hospital I had my psych clinical at had a separate "intensive therapy" unit, which was separate from the normal psych unit. It is wear they segregated clients who were more "high-risk." Like violent or sexually preoccupied clients. Basically clients they didn't feel safe having around other clients. They generally don't do any of the nursing skills you mentioned. They focus on psychiatric issues.
  6. 0
    Apologies for the confusion. I am talking about a psychiatric intensive care unit - there is one at a major hospital in my city (Seattle). My instructor called it a PICU, but now I understand that acronym is usually considered pediatric ICU. It is attached to the ICU rather than the inpatient psych units.
  7. 0
    Quote from katej326
    Hi there,

    I am in the process of selecting my senior practicum site for my BSN. I am considering requesting the PICU at a local Level I trauma center. I love psych nursing, but I also want to be sure that I get a chance to practice my critical care skills; managing multiple lines, titration of meds, reading monitors, starting IV's, placing foleys/NG's, etc. I want all the stuff my cohot will be doing in Med/Surg, but with acute psych patients. Just trying to set myself up for success in a competitive job market!

    I would love to hear from any PICU nurses about what kinds of medical care they perform on a daily basis, and how transferable those skills are to other units. Hope my question doesn't sounds too naiive

    Thank you for any and all input!
    Psych ICU (yes, the term ICU (as well as ED) isn't just for med nursing) is the most severely psychotic patients. Not necessarily the most dangerous, not necessarily every 5150/involuntary that comes in the hospital's main door...but the most acutely and severely psychotic. The focus is primarily on dealing with psych, though medical issues that can be addressed will be addressed (e.g., a diabetic patient is still going to get insulin). If they can't be addressed on the psych ICU, they may have to go to a medical unit or...

    What you are describing isn't psych ICU but is actually psych-medical or psych acute-med.

    On these units are the patients who have psych issues but whose medical acuity is high enough that there has to be a substantial focus on the patient's medical condition. Here you are more likely to be doing IVs, NGs, Foleys, etc. It's a cross between a med-surg floor and mid-level psych unit. More severely medically acute patients would have to go up to higher levels of care (PCU, ICU, etc). More psychotic patients may try to be managed there or have their medical condition stabilized in order to be transferred to a higher level of psych care.

    Hope this helps!
  8. 0
    Are you speaking of harborview's psych ICU?
  9. 0
    Whoops pushed send too early. Anyhow, if its Harborview I have quite a few friends who did their senior practicum on this unit and loved it. They are now very strong nurses who pay a special attention to psych/social issues of our patients then most nurses I work with. I'd say go for it, it will be a great experience. Good luck!


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