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Career Story: Registered Nurse In A Cardiothoracic Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Registered Nurse In A Cardiothoracic Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Job Title: Registered Nurse

Type of Company: I work for a large medical center in the city of Albany, New York.

Education: BSN, Binghamton University

Previous Experience: A summer nursing externship at a local medical center helped get my foot in the door.

Job Tasks: I work in a cardiothoracic surgical intensive care unit. I receive patients directly from the OR after open heart, vascular, or thoracic surgeries and stabilize them. They often have many IV drips running, and are on a ventilator to help them breathe. It is my job to either maintain the drugs and the ventilator, or to wean the patient off them. These patients are often very sick and very unstable and require a lot of one-on-one care.

If I am not caring for a patient fresh out of the OR, I spend a typical day assessing patients I've been assigned to, giving them their ordered medications, and training them how to help themselves recover after major surgery. It requires close observation of the patients' overall condition and vital signs. It also requires an ability to think independently. The objective, always, is to send the patients home or transfer them to the cardiothoracic step-down unit.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is caring for other human beings and seeing them get better over time. To see that your work goes toward a good cause is always rewarding and makes it easier to come in every day. Some patients and their families leave a lasting impression on you.

The worst part of the job is the stress of caring for another life. You are a licensed professional, and if something goes terribly wrong with a patient you have to be quick on your feet and take the correct actions to make sure the patient survives or has the best outcome possible. Patients can get violent, families can get angry, and the work environment can get stressful.

Job Tips: The best way to know if nursing is for you is to shadow nurses, and not just one, but a few who work in different areas. There are too many kinds of nursing to observe just one! Ask these nurses how they like their jobs and what the pros and cons are. Some schools offer introductory courses into the health field, teaching basics such as anatomy and pharmacology. Taking classes like these may help you find out whether it's an area you'd truly be interested in or not.

Additional Thoughts: If you enjoy caring for people and you have an interest in the human body, nursing is most likely a job you'll enjoy! It will always be in demand and there are endless opportunities for nurses. You don't have to stop with your RN, you can go on to become a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist... The list goes on and on!

Popular Schools offering Rn Registered Nursing Programs

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West Coast University
Anaheim, North Hollywood

Advance your career. 100% Focused on Health Sciences.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, MSN – Advanced Generalist (Online)
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

The goal of earning a master’s degree should be defined by you, not by your circumstances. No matter which path you’ve chosen, a graduate degree can help you advance with your current organization, explore opportunities with a new company, or even start fresh in a new industry. When you earn your master's degree, you’re opening new opportunities for career development that can make a difference for you and your family. Through flexible class scheduling, dedicated career advisors and quality programs, NAU strives to provide a caring and supportive learning environment to ensure your success as a student.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education, Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration, Master of Science in Nursing - Care Coordination
  • Degrees: Master

Established in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent institution of higher learning in Peoria, Illinois. Inspired by our founder, notable philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley, we pursue excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service; and we celebrate leadership, integrity, diversity and collaborative learning.

  • Programs: Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Leadership Track (MSN to DNP), Online Master of Science in Nursing (BSN to MSN-FNP), Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN to DNP), more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Master

Founded in 1872, Maryville University is a four-year, private university located in west St. Louis County.

  • Programs: Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP)-Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP)-Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Master

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
  • Degrees: Doctorate

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

  • Programs: MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Degrees: Master
Brightwood College
North Hollywood, Sacramento, San Diego, Vista

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

  • Programs: Nursing , Vocational Nursing
  • Degrees: Associate, Diploma

Founded in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher learning.

  • Programs: Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing Online
  • Degrees: Master

If you want to make the world a better place, start at the University of San Francisco. Our 21st-century mission to create a more humane and just world comes alive in our diverse learning community and is broadened by our global orientation. You are challenged to reach higher standards and to use your education to promote justice and serve the common good. At the University of San Francisco, youll find the excellence inherent in an institution established over 150 years ago, and inherent in nearly five centuries of Jesuit education.

  • Programs: Online Associate Degree to Master Degree Nursing program, Online Bachelor Degree to Master Degree Nursing program
  • Degrees: Master
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