I worked in an 8 bed Neuro ICU for 4 years. The stress was tremendous. A sampling of our patients: Young adults in their 20's & 30's who went 4 wheeling on weekends, intoxicated, rolled 'em, & wound up in our unit -quads-with broken necks, and also people who were assaulted on the street with a "rock in a sock"--"lock in a sock", post their sub-dural hematoma evacuations--with 50 % of their prior neurological and intellectual capabilities, folks with aneuryms, "near-drownings", electrocutions, near suicides and homicides, teen-agers in MVA's......
So many quads, brain dead, "near" brain dead, ...
I quit that unit about this same time of year, after we had 9 teenagers from 4 MVA's,.....6 became organ donors.
It was the most challenging and emotionally demanding unit I have ever worked. I couldn't take it any more..
What you see there, day in and day out,.......40 hours a week,
well, I don't think the human mind was meant to cope with such pain and suffering, the families, the unforgettable injuries.
Even the docs are at the bedside only a few minutes a day, not with all eight patients as you are....for 40 hours a week.
For starters, a meeting needs to be held with administration. They are asking the impossible.
In our hospital, and it was a large one, the 8 bed SICU had their own "specialty SICU charge nurse", and the Neuro ICU had their own "specialized charge nurse." These are two different specialties. I have worked many hospitals, and I've never seen a single nurse in charge of both of these units.
Your hospital is getting "two for the price of one."
I wouldn't ask, "what's wrong with me?" I'd ask "What were you all (administration) thinking?
I'd suggest not ever letting them know you NEED this job....you lose all your negotiating power.
If you quit, (went agency) they'd hire two nurses to take your place.
That's my guess.
And in a lighter note, like "Lonesome in Seattle".......you're
bored in Las Vegas?