I started my career as and ICU/CCU (Intensive Care Unit/Coronary Care Unit) nurse. As Marie said above, you begin your shift by learning about the patients you will be taking care of from the previous shift. Then you want to learn more about the patients by reading their charts to learn more about the patient such as their health history, why they are there, how they have responded to care, their most current labs, and what the doctor's plan is to name a few things. Then you organize your day to provide your patients' scheduled care, assess them regularly, and administer their meds. Attention to changes and communication with other health care providers is essential to provide the best care. Somewhere in there, you make time to document everything you are doing and how the patient responded. It's a full but rewarding day.
After working in ICU/CCU for 5 years, I went back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner then worked both in Internal Medicine and Cardiology. As an NP you see many patients a day and are responsible for coordinating they care plan and follow up. The relationships you develop with the patients and their families is very rewarding along with the challenge of staying current on best practices and your collaboration with other health care providers.
Depending on where you work, the hours you work will differ. I highly recommend a nursing career!
Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:
The day to day life of a nurse varies depending on where you work. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) , you start by getting coffee, needed to start report. The you should get a through report about all of you patients, that could be between 1 and 3.
After report you take your (brain) report sheet and plan your day. You will have feedings, labs ,medications, hourly IV checks and blood gases to name a few. In-between all these task you have to assess and reassess , every 2- 4 hours, your patients for subtle changes in physical exam.
Try to fit pee breaks and lunch into busy day. A life in the day of a NICU nurse is challenging, stressful, emotional and highly rewarding. As I said earlier the day will vary based on where you work.