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ICU clinical rotation

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I am in my final year of nursing. My clinical roation this quarter is in the ICU, Neuro, and ER. I was just curious as to what types of conditions I might find. So far I have seen strokes, and Dx r/t altered mental status. Im just trying to think of some Nsg Dx that I might encounter so I can feel more prepared and read about these conditions. Any input would be great!


StayLost, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU, CCU, Heart Transplant. Has 5 years experience.

I did my rotation in a level-1 trauma ICU & a Cardiovascular ICU. CVICU patients typically have swan-ganz catheters, a type of central line that measure different cardiac and pulmonary pressures. All the pt's were intubated and had an arterial line. Many were on CVVHD, a type of slow continous bedside dialysis, because it is safer for pt's with cardiac problems. The nurses always let the students decide when to titrate all the cardiac drugs-- i really felt like an RN! It's not uncommon to have 3-4 IV pumps in the patient's room. You need to be able to have a good understanding of EKG strips.

It was very similar in the Trauma ICU, but patients were from many different populations. There were a lot of pt's with head injuries from car accidents. I got lot's of experience with ventrics and monitoring ICP, which is pretty wild.

One of the most important things that I learned is how to deal with FAMILIES! They are there all day with you during one of the most difficult times in their lives. Oh, you also learn REALLY QUICK how to silence the alarms!

Those are some of the most memorable things I can recall! It's gonna be fun!


Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

I've spent a lot of extern hours in the ICU...I love it, its one of my favorite areas. We are in a small rural area and most of the major stuff gets shipped out. But in addition to the above poster, we also had quite a few people who have tried to commit suicide. They are required to be under continuous monitoring so they ended up in the ICU. Which led to some interesting practice in therapeutic communication. Our ICU is total care as well. We do the bed baths, the linen changes as well so we are always busy doing something. I really liked the total care part, you really got to know your patient and their "norms". Have fun!! ICU is great!

aerorunner80, ADN, BSN, MSN, APRN

Specializes in MSN, FNP-BC. Has 8 years experience.

It depends on where you will be. If you will be at a level I trauma center, you will see things you never thought possible.

If you are in a more rural area, you won't see as much.

As far as nursing dx. Don't stress so much over it. You'll know it when you see it. I think you should focus more on your potential complications because when a PC happens, they are typically sent to the ICU.

Good luck and enjoy!!

The ICU is my most favorite unit!