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A Day in the life of a Trauma/Neuro ICU RN

Neuro   (26,201 Views 7 Comments)
by Fiesta Red Fiesta Red (Member) Member

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What is it like? What do you do? I did a semester rotation as a student in a Trauma/Neuro ICU, but that was a long time ago and I can't remember what it was like. I remember being bored, but that was when I was younger, so I went to the ER instead. I'm getting a little tired of the ER "cram everything into your ER right now" mentality.

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Dinith88 has 15 years experience and specializes in CCU/CVU/ICU.

720 Posts; 11,090 Profile Views

What is it like? . I remember being bored,.

OK then,. Stay out of the neuro-trauma unit if it's boring to you. If you're enquiring because you'd like to be bored (sit down?) you'd be doing the patients/units an injustice. If you're not bored in the ED, stay there...thats just my opinion. Better to be way busy (and not bored) than to be less busy (and bored). Though, i'm sure neuro-trauma-icu nurses would disagree with you that the area is 'boring', 'slow', or 'easier' than ED.

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59 Posts; 2,822 Profile Views

OK then,. Stay out of the neuro-trauma unit if it's boring to you. If you're enquiring because you'd like to be bored (sit down?) you'd be doing the patients/units an injustice. If you're not bored in the ED, stay there...thats just my opinion. Better to be way busy (and not bored) than to be less busy (and bored). Though, i'm sure neuro-trauma-icu nurses would disagree with you that the area is 'boring', 'slow', or 'easier' than ED.

Are you a Trauma/Neuro ICU nurse?

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phiposurde has 9 years experience and specializes in critical care,flight nursing.

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I do both and I feel your pain ! Most people I saw trying the swing ER/ICU didn't like it. either they had to much ER or ICU blood in there veins!! But I am 3/4 ER and 1/4 ICU( it most be from my mom 8). It is different. I work in one of the most busy critical care hospital in Canada. Our acuity is very high cause we cover alot of geography. First the thinking. The patient aproach is veryy different. An ER RN have to know a little bit about alot and an ICU alot about a little bit. We aproach with symtoms they aproach by system. Personally, I believe ICU nurse know more there pathophysiology in depth then we do. That's one of the reason I like to go back. Ask an emergency nurse to define you shock and they will tell you about BP , sign and symtoms and heart rate. The icu nurse, they will start explaining you the afterload CVP, pressure wedge, SVO2 and the reason why you have an increase blood sugar. So first you be a very curious and ready for such mental challenge.

I know you guys do things different they us. But here what a day kind look like. Assessment head to toe. When I say head to toe I really mean it!8) We kind do a generalise assesment according to the complaint, they go in very details. Usually because they have 1 patient, so much more time. But one mistake ER RN do, when it come to patient load. They believe since they can take care of 3-6 at the same time, it will be easy to just have one.They have more things going on and require alot of nursing care. Therefore the reason why they are one on one. After you assesment, charting ( we do it on computer) Then you get ready for rounds. Where you have to give your opinion in front of 12 people. So you ahve to be prepare. That mean you have to read the chart, review medication list, ect. Then start the CT here, X-ray there. If your lucky, you have a "stable" one and those are the one the ER people don't really like. Cause there alot of waiting. But That give you more time to interact with family, read more on the condition of your patient or chat with staff.

I really like the interaction with family. you get to know them and find to make a better impact. when they come in the ER, they are still under shock and are not really sure what's going on. I still remember that men who I took care of his son. I cleaned the blood off is face. Simple gesture, right? Well almost 2 years later in a middle of a conference with close to 100 people in the room. He notice me and thank me again. Other good stuff in the ICU, the gadget. yes I know, a guy thing. We get to play with numbers and monitoring which help you prevent the patient to decompensate. Most of the patient also, don't rename ,in a name your mom woudn't be proud cause they are drunk. most of them are pretty quiet. You also get to play with drip and all.

In all if you have a chance to do both. Go ahead. I work in the ICU causal and it make me a better nurse in both field with the experience that i bring from one to the other. But if you have to make the full jump, maybe do some shadow shift with a nurse at your center. Cause you are always more one then the other. Hope I help

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521 Posts; 7,104 Profile Views

I worked as a neurotrauma clinician in a Level I military ED for many years, and have also worked as a neurotrauma ICU RN for over 14 years. Honestly, I was never, ever as mentally challenged in the ED as I have been in the ICU. Enough said.....

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Christie RN2006 specializes in SICU, EMS, Home Health, School Nursing.

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What is it like? What do you do? I did a semester rotation as a student in a Trauma/Neuro ICU, but that was a long time ago and I can't remember what it was like. I remember being bored, but that was when I was younger, so I went to the ER instead. I'm getting a little tired of the ER "cram everything into your ER right now" mentality.

When I was a student, I also did a rotation in the ICU and at first I thought it was boring... but man was I wrong!! Now that I actually work in an ICU, I have figured out it is far from boring! The only reason I was bored as a student was because I was not allowed to do most things with the patient, other than to observe the nurse. A lot of the students that come into the ICU are bored because they want to be. They sit at the desk looking sorry for themselves instead of trying to seek out opportunities to learn. The next time I was in the ICU I asked the nurses if there was anything exciting going on or anything I could help with and wow! I was so busy then! I got to see a thoracentisis, insert and NGT, and lots of other fun and exciting things.

The ICU and ED are both critical care units, but they are very very different. It is based on your preferences.

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