Job Title: Critical Care / Emergency Registered Nurse
Type of Company: I work in the recovery room of a magnet-designated hospital in suburban Philadelphia.
Education: AS, Science, Philadelphia Community College (Philadelphia, PA) diploma, Nursing (RN), Episcopal Hospital School of Nursing (Philadelphia, PA) RN to BSN, Kaplan University (online)
Previous Experience: I started in 1980 as a registered nurse in a cardiac surgery unit and later worked in a surgical trauma ICU in a level 1 trauma center in a busy Philadelphia hospital. Nowadays I work in a level 2 trauma center emergency room and the recovery room in a large magnet-designated hospital.
Job Tasks: The requirement for my job is basically life support. We receive patients from the operating room, and help them wake up and recover from different types of surgeries. People have different responses to surgeries and anesthesia. Some people wake up without any problems but some people have trouble waking up after surgery. We monitor them to ensure that their breathing, blood pressure and heart rate stay within the normal range.
There is a protocol for life support similar to CPR, but it's called Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). We have protocols for blood pressure support, air way management and support. It is critical that every registered nurse be highly trained in life support and management.
One aspect of my job that some people don't realize is the level of respect an RN gets from her patients. Most patients literally place their lives in our hands. If you think about it, nurses are complete strangers to their patients, who have little choice but to rely on them. To me, trust is the most important part of the "nurse-patient" relationship. Comments I get from patients are that I have "a calming way" about me. Pain is a major post-operative issue for most patients, though some more than others. The one thing I can always promise my patients is that I can "get their pain under control." This is possible because our anesthesiologists provide our orders and pain management. The narcotics we use for pain management can cause side effects, so we monitor patients for vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygenation). If necessary, we treat. Once a patient is stable and pain-free, we transfer him to the post-operative side to be discharged or admitted to the hospital for further observation.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are the fact that patients trust me with their lives, even though I'm a complete stranger. Also the hours. In the recovery room, we work Monday through Friday. We take call (weekend or holiday work) about every 5 to 6 weeks. Holiday call is about once a year. There are often others who are willing to take my call.
What I don't like sometimes is the level of responsibility involved with my job. We balance life and death sometimes on a shoestring. The stress level is high about 90% of the time.
Job Tips: Take your liberal arts classes before your nursing classes. It makes nursing school a bit easier.
When you have electives to take, take business classes because they help you do a better job and be a better professional. You'll be a better RN, but with the business background you will be a better manager and possibly administrator.
Take advantage of all the educational opportunities that you can while working. Let you employer pay for as much as they will.
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school
Grand Canyon University - College of Nursing & Health Care Professions. Online & Campus - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees!
Wilkes University’s School of Nursing offers CCNE-accredited online degrees and certificate programs ideal for working health care professionals, instructed by experienced, respected faculty dedicated to mentoring and personalized support for every student.
Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career.
Advance your career. 100% Focused on Health Sciences.
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.
Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.
Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Registered Nurses, including: