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what does a typical day look like as a critical care nurse?

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Thank you comment icon Hi Jessica, I have considered becoming an ICU RN, but still is in the contemplation stage, here are a couple of videos that I hope will help you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DREvmmE7wlg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRn5UbmkrdA ; hopefully these videos gave you some insight and an idea of ICU RN routine; good luck to you Sandra Hurst

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Tristen’s Answer

I am a NICU nurse case manager. I worked in the hospital for 3.5 years. After transitioning out of the hospital, I became an NICU Nurse Case Manager. My hours were Monday through Friday 8-4:30 pm. Since I worked in office I would make calls to parents who recently had babies in the NICU. As the babies discharge from the hospital, I placed calls to them and let them know of the insurance company benefits as it pertained to their child. I also provided education and community resources to assist with a smooth transition from hospital to home.
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janet’s Answer

As an older ICU nurse, I can say there is not a typical day in the ICU where I worked. I worked in a Level 1 Trauma Center and you never knew what your day would be. The day would start out getting report form the off going shift, and then assess the plan for the day. There were usually procedures that would be planned for the day for my patient that could be time consuming and require knowledge of critical care procedures such as Swan Ganz placement, placement of ICP monitoring to monitor the pressure on the brain, central line placement, continuous dialysis, etc. Most of the patients in this unit were intubated with an endotracheal tube or had a tracheostomy with mechanical ventilation. Each patient usually had multiple IV meds either as a bolus infusion or continuous infusion to keep them paralyzed or sedated while they healed. Some patients are on specialty beds and you have to monitor their skin for breakdown areas. Some patients have to placed in the prone position which require multiple personnel to complete. I never had a set time for medications but medications were ordered according to each patients needs. I assessed each patient from head to toe at least every 4 hours and PRN according to any changes in the patient. I worked closed with the Trauma Team and would keep each patients medical team updated on their progress or decline. I worked with the ICU team members who needed assistance with their patients such as during a Code Blue or rapid decline of a patient. As you can see, there is not a usual day in a Trauma ICU. The shift was a 12 hour shift and at the end of the day you report off to the oncoming ICU nurse of what happened to each patient, any planned procedures or tests, answer any questions, and any social issues that may impact the patient. It sounds like a crazy place to work but I dearly loved working in the Trauma Unit.
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Cinthya’s Answer

It depends on what type of critical care unit you work in. There’s Medical, Surgical, Cardiac, Burn, Neonatal, Neurological, Respiratory, and now Covid19 ICU.
But the basic care of the patients is the same. Only thing that differs is if and what bedside procedures are done.
Typical day starts at 0700. Shift change. With report. And you are done with report by 0730. Then I go look at all of the orders, lab results and med for the day in the computer and get myself organized for the day.
Next I go check on my patients introducing myself, quickly assessing the room and status of the patient, and carving out a plan for the day with them (if they are able to participate).
Next I go to the meds room, pull up meds. And do a full heat to toe assessment before administering meds. Chart and do the next patient the same way. By now it’s about 1000. And breakfast break is somewhere in between 0900 to 1100. You are given a breakfast break, how long depends on your Hospital. It can 15 mins. It can be 30.
And you join doctors on their rounds, other disciplines. And answer call lights and just more of the medication administration and charting. Usually medications are scheduled at 0900, 1200, and 1600. But sometimes you are giving some meds throughout the day at every 3-4 hours.
Some treatments call for you to assess the patient every hour.
Some meds are every hour. Like eye drops.
And sometimes you are I. The room titrating medication drops every 5-15 minutes.
It really depends on how critically ill your patient is and the treatments they have.
This is much of how the day continues.
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