The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) refers to critical patients. People who are acutely ill, gone through a major operation or a victim of a severe accident utilize ICU. Such patients require intensive care and concentration. Due to this, experienced staff is hired for ICU. Hospitals allocate nurses, doctors, pediatricians, and physiotherapists specifically to the ICU. ICU nurses help the patient to recover from injury and perform necessary tasks which provide ease to the patient. Many nurses prefer to join ICU after gaining some expertise. Fresh or inexperienced nurses are not preferred for ICU. We cannot risk the life of a patient due to minor ignorance.
How often do nurses check on patients in ICU?
Intensive care units require regular monitoring. A nurse who is appointed to a particular ICU patient performs her duty 24/7. Usually, one nurse handles one ICU patient. Hospitals differentiate ICU patients based on nurses appointed to each.
A patient who is in the ICU is delicate and sensitive. Their condition can get worse any second. Due to this, the nurse must be with them every time. If hospitals assign a few hours of duty to ICU nurses then there is a chance that in absence of a nurse, patients might suffer from some serious attack.
Nurses duty hours in various ICU departments
ICU units have different types. Nurses working hours in particular ICU units vary. Let’s see which ICU unit patients need nurses more often.
Postoperative care ICU unit nurses
Patients who suffer pain after surgery utilize postoperative care ICU.Nurses with knowledge of anesthesiology work in this unit. Nurses check patients after every hour.
Local anesthesia provides 1 hour of sleep to patients. In this duration, patients don’t feel any pain. But there is a probability that the sensation of irritation will activate after a 1-hour dose. The presence of a nurse is necessary for such conditions.
Pediatric ICU nurses
Children between the age of 2-12 years who are victims of acute illness are kept in the pediatric ICU unit. Nurses who know how to handle children well work in this unit. Nurses keep a check on children 24/7. Adults can bear the pain but children cannot. It is necessary to be with them every time.
Emergency room ICU nurses
Emergency room nurses often work in shifts. As we know, ER service people 24/7. Hence doctors and nurses appointed for ER need to be there every time. Due to long duty hours, nurses work in shifts.
Neonatal ICU nurses
Do you know where nurses bring newborn children after delivery? The Neonatal ICU unit. Newborn babies with severe or life-threatening diseases are kept in the Neonatal unit. Nurses perform the duty of 12 hours a day in this ICU unit.
Cardiothoracic ICU nurses
Cardiothoracic nurses work with patients who are suffering from severe heart diseases. HEart transplant, open-heart surgery, and stroke patients remain in the hands of such nurses. Experienced nurses are appointed in cardiothoracic ICU units.
There is a need to keep track of patient blood pressure, heartbeats, and ECG in the cardiothoracic unit. Such nurses just remain confined to the boundary of ICU units with patients every time.
What do ICU nurses do?
ICU patients remain on the verge of their lives. These patients fight to survive. Nurses become their support system in such conditions. ICU nurses take care of patients fighting with life hardcore or crucial diseases. Most of the time patients are fed up with pain and want to get rid of it. In such situations, nurses motivate them as well. They are trained how to perform in the best and worst case.
- Evaluating the condition of the patient after regular intervals of time
- Managing the medication of patients on prescribed timing via gas tubes
- Analyzing patients current situation updating doctor, family, and friends about the latest report
- Actively report to a sudden emergency and inform the doctor about the situation
- Perform regular tests of patients which are necessary and demanded by the doctor
- Looking after the patient throughout his recovery journey
- Performing usual tasks like giving him required diet and sponge bath
- Providing support to patients families and motivation to patient
- Estimating the pain level and injecting required sedatives to reduce pain
- Maintain proper records about patient recovery, lab tests, blood pressure, and sugar level to provide the doctor a clear idea about a situation
How do nurses manage to perform 24/7 duty in ICU?
We have discussed a few ICU units which require the presence of nurses 24/7. Questions arise, how do nurses manage to perform a 24/7 duty? Nurses are also human. Though they are trained enough to serve their life for patients, tiredness can affect the working of a nurse. In such situations hospitals follow a shift mechanism.
One disadvantage of the shift system is the information gap. Suppose nurse 1 is handling patients from the beginning. In the second shift, nurse 2 starts from where the former left. There is a chance that nurse 2 might not be able to understand patient diet, medicine timing, or physiotherapist session completely. Lack of information can put patients in trouble.
How to become an ICU nurse?
ICU nurses go through the following steps:
Registered nurse (RN)
Before you become a registered nurse, RN qualification is necessary. An RN certification shows that you can become an ICU nurse.
Experience makes a person perfect. RN after an experience of 4 to 5 years of nursing can qualify for ICU certification.
Power brings responsibilities. Due to the critical circumstances of ICU, hospitals need to verify whether a particular nurse is capable of handling tasks. Certification of CRRN, CCRN, or CMC is required to evaluate nurse capability for ICU units.
The ICU is the most critical section of hospitals. An ICU patient is considered a serious condition person. Intensive care is required to make a person recover from ICU. Therefore, nurses have the responsibility on their shoulders to check on patients as often as possible. It’s a responsible job. Minor negligence of a nurse can put a patient in a worse situation than death. Hence, nurse care and time are required for ICU patients.