as meandragonbrett, cardiacrn2006 and leesepieces, explained so well that is what we do. as icu nurses we are expected to know and anticipate what a patient needs and be able to report our assessment and recommendations clearly and calmly. when i was considering making the move from med-surge to icu i had a dr. explain that when an icu nurse calls the physician he does not want to hear "the patient is sick" according to him he will respond "then give him some medicine".
our physicians expect us to have a good understanding of pathophysiology and to be very familiar with our hospitals protocols so that when we call even though we may not know exactly how to correct a problem we should at least have an understanding as to why the patient is having "a problem" and be able to recommend a treatment for when he asks "what do you need".
sometimes it is more difficult on the night shift because not only do you not have the advantage of face time with the physicians when they make their daily rounds and are more likely to explain disease processes and expected outcomes, we may be calling a physician who has never laid eyes on the icu patient that is being treated by multiple specialties and a complex disease process that it would take you 30 minutes just to give them an overview of how the patient ended up in the icu.
icu nursing is rewarding and fulfilling. and for those who love patho it is the place to be.