Intensive care unit nurses are registered nurses with a BCLS / ACLS Certification and specialize in looking after patients with serious illnesses or injuries. An intensive care unit hosts terminally ill or critically injured patients which is why it is important for ICU nurses to be able to provide acute care to them. They are responsible for monitoring, evaluating and documenting patient care. They administer medication and record vitals and are expected to be vigilant at all times. Since the condition of patients in an ICU is very critical in most of the circumstances and need to be monitored at all times, it is the responsibility of an ICU nurse to ensure that emergencies are managed properly and concerned doctors are called in when necessary.
ICU nurses are also expected to provide assistant to physicians by helping them assess patients and deliver medication. This may include dressing wounds and monitoring life support equipment that patients use. She may also be required to provide emotional support to patients’ families and educate them on procedures of an ICU.
They need to be on their toes all the time – not just physically but mentally too. This job requires a certain skills set which is not related to nursing or medical educational; the ability to stay organized all the time and resolve issues quickly and efficiently is the main skill that makes for successful nursing in an intensive care unit.
• Receive patients into the intensive care or trauma unit and quickly go through patients’ notes to determine medical issues
• Assess patients to determine the intensity of disease or trauma and create nursing care plans to meet his or her specific requirements
• Treat wounds by cleaning and disinfecting them by following preset directives and ensure that they are properly bandaged or / and stilted
• Record patients’ vitals including blood pressure, temperature and pulse in patients’ logbooks, on a periodic basis
• Administer oral medication and intravenous and intramuscular fluids, by first determining if patients have any allergies to medicine compounds
• Observe patients to determine signs of discomfort or changes in conditions and ensure that any significant observations are communicated to the nurse manager or doctor
• Evaluate patients to find out which diagnostic tests are required to determine disease or extent of injury and order and follow up on them in a proactive manner
• Respond to life-saving situations by performing first aid and CPR, in accordance to standard nursing protocols for treatment
• Set up, regulate and maintain life-saving or life-maintenance equipment such as ventilators, and record patients’ responses in an accurate manner
• Consult and coordinate with healthcare teams to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care plans for patients in critical conditions
• Arrange for administration of complete bedside care such as support with urination and stool and ensure patient wellbeing consistently
• Initiate patient education plans to teach both patients and their families how to manage their illnesses and injuries
• Monitor catheters, leads and tubing to ensure proper placement and functioning
• Provide information regarding post-treatment homecare needs, including diet and nutrition and exercise programs
• Record all nursing care information in a precise and accurate manner and by following appropriate formats and forms