ICU/CCU fast paced??


  • Specializes in One day CCU maybe!.


I'm a fairly new grad and have been working the last 6 months in Med-Surg. It is so fast-paced that I don't sit down AT ALL. We're not supposed to sit anyways but if we were allowed to, I still wouldn't have time to. I sometimes don't get my lunch until 5pm and have a 6pt workload. I am totally type A so I don't feel overwhelmed to the point of tears but tears are the norm on our floor it seems. Even for nurses that have been working for over a decade we still have them going home in tears. I do feel like its just too busy for me despite hating to have nothing to do. I'd rather be busy and stressed then slow and bored but I don't want to get burned out (I know I know...I've only been here 6 months and I'm already complaining). :p

ADDED: I have to add that we are sort of a rural hospital and have no progressive unit. So when the patient leaves ICU they come to our floor and we basically function has a step-down AND med-surg. Sometimes we have cardizem drips, heparin titration, CBI, and most are remote telemetry). We've had complaints from floaters about how unsafe our floor is and I'm starting to see why.

My question is, I'm extremely interested in the CCU. I precepted there during my final semester and loved it. But with having just 1-2 patients a person, do you find it fast paced at all? Or do you find yourself spacing out your work so you don't get bored? I'm sure in situations where someone is going downhill or coding its all the fast paced you can handle but for the rest of the time, what is it like? Are you sitting a lot?

When I was precepting I only had one patient and so I found myself becoming the ancillary staff doing accucheks and helping turn, bathe, etc pt's. I kind of wonder if that is why I got the precept position - free help. It seemed like all the other staff was busy but I'm not exactly sure with what since I wasn't permitted to chart in the ICU setting. Is there more charting involved?? I know assessments were more frequent. I get fresh post ops now that we have to do q1hr assessments/neuro checks and I believe in the ICU its q15mins or something??

I feel like an idiot that I actually precepted there and now I totally question what exactly nurses there do. :rolleyes:


261 Posts

Specializes in CVICU.

Well the not charting part of your experience is what gave you so much downtime. Yes, there CAN be downtime with a low census/low acuity day or something but otherwise you stay pretty busy. One patient can keep you running all shift.


2,438 Posts

My 1-2 patients can be busier than 5-6 medsurg patients sans the call light!

There are plenty of days in ICU when you finish giving report and you don't know how you got through the day.