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Career Story: Intensive Care Nurse

Intensive Care Nurse

Job Title: ICU Nurse

Type of Company: My company is a hospital.

Education: BS, Nursing

Previous Experience: I have worked as a critical care nurse for the last 22 years.

Job Tasks: I work in the intensive care unit of a Boston hospital. Our patients are critically ill and a split-second decision can mean the difference between life and death. My job allows me to care for the sickest patients in the hospital.

My day starts out with being assigned one or two patients, depending on severity of their conditions. I need to do a head-to-toe assessment on each one and fill out the appropriate paper work. i am responsible for every aspect of my patient's care, making sure that the drips and ventilator settings are accurate as well as monitoring vital signs every hour (and sometimes more often if the patient is unstable). There are formal rounds each morning with the doctors to go over the plan of care for the day. The plan of care is in written down on a special form and kept at the patient's bedside so that everyone who attends him understands what the goals are. My day can change at a moment's notice for any one of a variety of reasons: if the patient has a crisis, or someone else's patient has a crisis, or a new admission is brought to the unit.

In addition to caring for patients, I have to keep their families updated on what has gone on and what the plan is for the day. It can be very difficult if the patient is unstable and you are constantly at the bedside providing care. You are usually the first person to realize that your patient is having a problem and it is your job to assess the situation, act quickly and let the appropriate personnel know what is needed to keep your patient alive.

Every day is different depending on how ill each patient is and the amount of care needed to keep the patients alive and safe.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working very hard to help a patient improve. It is very rewarding to see someone who was so ill go home and live his life.

The worst part of my job is when the medical staff and I have done everything to try and get someone better and they die. Overall, though, nursing is a very rewarding profession that allows you to assist others and feel at the end of the day you have done a good job.

Job Tips:
1.) Get your bachelor's degree before you start working. It is difficult to go back to school while you are working full time.

2.) It is a great career choice if you decide to marry and have children you can work a different schedule that meets your families needs.

3.) Before you decide to specialize in one area be sure to work on a medical-surgical floor for one year so that you can learn your assessment and organizational skills before moving on.

Additional Thoughts: Nursing allows you to help others when they are at their most vulnerable. To be able to help another human being through caring and skill is very rewarding. There is no feeling better than to realize that you helped save a life. What you do does make a difference in people's lives.

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