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Advice for a future Trauma ICU student nurse :)

Critical   (587 Views | 6 Replies)
by maddyl maddyl (New) New Nurse Student

71 Profile Views; 4 Posts

hi! So i am in my last semester of my BSN program and I got accepted into at Transition to Practice in the Trauma ICU starting in a few weeks. We spent the last semester learning about critical care and did some rotations on the general ICU floors. I have a good understanding of general critical care, but feel that I need to learn more about the Trauma ICU specialty before I begin. Any topics, procedures or conditions that you think would be helpful for me to research before I begin my rotation? I am so excited and want to be as prepared as possible :) Thank you!

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PeakRN specializes in Adult and pediatric emergency and critical care.

544 Posts; 5,810 Profile Views

Do you have TNCC and ATCN?

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4 Posts; 71 Profile Views

hi, thank you for responding! not yet, I am still in nursing school so I haven't gotten a chance to get any certifications but ACLS yet!

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1,246 Posts; 8,152 Profile Views

You will see a variety of things in a Trauma ICU. Most of your patients though will be by far elderly falls. Most are on blood thinners and have complications from that. You will see a lot of broken ribs. Then, throw in motor vehicle crashes and gun shot wounds. Lots of broken bones.

There’s not really a toN of procedures to research. Most traumas get stabilized in the ER then come to you, although the occasional really unstable pt comes up and you end up doing mass transfusion protocol, putting in icp monitoring devices, and some intubating.

Is this a Level One Trauma? You can’t get any certifications Until after you are a nurse. I’m surprised you were able to get ACLS. You have to push meds with ACLS. Remember, trauma is very tragic. Be prepared to deal with lots of emotions. It’s not always super exciting either. Lots of elderly falls with a few broken ribs. Treating lots of pain.

Ive been in a Trauma ICU for almost 7 years. It can be fun but also draining.

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DesertSky has 7 years experience as a BSN and specializes in BSN, RN, CCRN - ICU & ER.

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I work in a busy, urban level one trauma/surgical ICU - we see a wide range of injuries including lots of penetrating wounds like gunshot wounds and stabbings, MVC's and motorcycle accidents, and suicide attempts.

We do lots of procedures ranging from chest tube insertions, percutaneous tracts and PEG tube placement at the bedside, IVC filter insertions, assist with central line, arterial line, and dialysis line insertions, intubations/reintubations, and run MTP's.

There are lots of behavior issues working in trauma ICU because the patient population can be difficult to work with and often have lots of social issues. As others mentioned, this can be draining and difficult.

You said you "have a good understanding of general critical care," but with all due respect as a student with one semester of critical care under your belt, you still have a ton to learn. Go into the rotation with an open mind, be willing to jump in and help your preceptor and other nurses on the unit, and ask questions and research topics or questions that arise during your clinical time.

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On 1/20/2020 at 8:49 AM, LovingLife123 said:

You will see a variety of things in a Trauma ICU. Most of your patients though will be by far elderly falls. Most are on blood thinners and have complications from that. You will see a lot of broken ribs. Then, throw in motor vehicle crashes and gun shot wounds. Lots of broken bones.

There’s not really a toN of procedures to research. Most traumas get stabilized in the ER then come to you, although the occasional really unstable pt comes up and you end up doing mass transfusion protocol, putting in icp monitoring devices, and some intubating.

Is this a Level One Trauma? You can’t get any certifications Until after you are a nurse. I’m surprised you were able to get ACLS. You have to push meds with ACLS. Remember, trauma is very tragic. Be prepared to deal with lots of emotions. It’s not always super exciting either. Lots of elderly falls with a few broken ribs. Treating lots of pain.

Ive been in a Trauma ICU for almost 7 years. It can be fun but also draining.

Thank you so much for taking your time to respond, i appreciate all of the information you shared. Yes, it is a level one trauma center and is located in a urban/suburban area. That's good to know about the emotional aspect as well, I will make sure to take that into consideration throughout my time there. Thanks again!

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4 Posts; 71 Profile Views

On 1/20/2020 at 9:20 PM, DesertSky said:

I work in a busy, urban level one trauma/surgical ICU - we see a wide range of injuries including lots of penetrating wounds like gunshot wounds and stabbings, MVC's and motorcycle accidents, and suicide attempts.

We do lots of procedures ranging from chest tube insertions, percutaneous tracts and PEG tube placement at the bedside, IVC filter insertions, assist with central line, arterial line, and dialysis line insertions, intubations/reintubations, and run MTP's.

There are lots of behavior issues working in trauma ICU because the patient population can be difficult to work with and often have lots of social issues. As others mentioned, this can be draining and difficult.

You said you "have a good understanding of general critical care," but with all due respect as a student with one semester of critical care under your belt, you still have a ton to learn. Go into the rotation with an open mind, be willing to jump in and help your preceptor and other nurses on the unit, and ask questions and research topics or questions that arise during your clinical time.

Hello! Thank you for taking your time to respond to my post, I really appreciate it. I will be sure to look into those procedures and be familiar with them before the start of my rotation.

Oh yes, I know I have so much to learn haha, nursing school doesn't teach you nearly enough! I am excited to gain experience and knowledge throughout this rotation. Thanks again for your response, it helped a lot! 🙂

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