dcsimg

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

quickinfoClick 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

Matching School Ads

Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions

  • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership, M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge), Doctor of Nursing Practice, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Certificate, Bachelor, Master
Unitek College
Sacramento

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. 

  • Programs: Associate of Science in Nursing, Vocational Nursing
  • Degrees: Associate, Certificate
Platt College
Alhambra

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Vocational Nursing Program*
  • Degrees: Associate

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration, Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
  • Degrees: Master

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.

  • Programs: RN to MS - Nursing Informatics, M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nursing Informatics, DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Doctorate

The University

With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.

  • Programs: MSN Clinical Nurse Educator
  • Degrees: Master

Grow Your Career with the University of Saint Mary

  • Programs: MSN: Nursing Education Specialization, MSN: Nursing Administrator , RN-BSN Degree
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Sacred Heart University Online 

  • Programs: MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader, MSN - Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
  • Degrees: Master

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, RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Degrees: Master

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Registered Nurses

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.

All Types

You are visiting:

What are Career Stories?

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:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Registered Nurses, including:

Back to Top