A Day in a Life of an ICU Nurse
April 17, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Ever since I was a student, I dreamt of becoming an ICU nurse. I adore how they put high regard to ICU nurses because of their high- tech machines and critical routines in the area. Now that I become one, I started to deeply appreciate it. You need to exercise critical thinking, which is a mixture of knowledge, intuition, common sense, logic and experience.
Beep. Beep. Beep. * Another infusion pump sounds for having an air in the tubing. I walked closely to my patient, turned it off; expelled the air and started the infusion pump once a again. My patient has been admitted here for two days already due to coma secondary to vehicular accident. Obviously he has a GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale) of 3 despite aggressive managements since his head was crucially been affected. Drips here and there are hanging; he is attached to a pulmonary ventilator for respiratory assistance; with cardiac monitor as well as pulse oximeter for oxygen saturation; and with standby suction machine at bedside. All the usual necessities for close monitoring was there. That is how they say, “toxic” is ICU life everyday.
Monitoring means checking everything from head- to-toe. Aside from intermittent increases in blood pressure and his other vital signs, my patient’s ICP or intracranial pressure is also monitored for signs of elevation, like unequal pupillary dilatation. This patient undergone brain surgery even with poor prognosis, by which what I mean with aggressive management awhile ago. So he has a Jackson- Pratt drain placed strictly on negative pressure. Urinary output is an important measure to evaluate the patient’s fluid intake and output and how his kidneys function despite lots of medications.
Side rails should always be up to secure patient’s safety from fall. And turning, yes turning every two hours is needed to prevent bed ulcers for critically- ill patients. To be honest, I had the difficulty turning my patient since he is big but thanks to my colleagues, they would usually lend their hand. In addition, giving a sponge bath is a must, too. Remember, every patient has the right to quality and excellent service.
Medications plus treatments and physicians usually go hand and hand. But since unexpected situations occur more often, phone orders are just common here where I work. Bolus and central line access are ordinarily seen in ICU because immediate care and life- threatening situations must be handled right away. On the other hand, legalities in documentations like “do not resuscitate” and refusal consent and the like are being handled with cautious care and are explained well to concerned parties.
Being an Intensive Care Unit nurse is not a toxic role as what other people would tag on it. It is a decent and a high class job if I would describe it in my own words because it is a job that anyone could be proud of. That is because I am helping in saving life on its edge to possibility.
After a 12 hour shift, I utter goodbyes to my colleagues and said, “Be strong and God Bless.” in a whisper voice to my patient, for tomorrow I am hoping that we’ll be meeting once again.
Image courtesy of lpn-to-rn.org