Job Title: Critical Care Registered Nurse
Type of Company: I work in a community hospital caring for individuals with acute and chronic conditions and /or diseases that require close monitoring.
Education: Diploma of Nursing, Brockton Hospital School of Nursing, Bridgewater State College
Previous Experience: I worked in a nursing home as a nurse assistant and also as a certified nursing assistant while I was a student.
Job Tasks: I work for a community hospital. The individuals we treat are very sick. Nurses are known for caring for the sick, but the truth is, you deal with much more than the patient. The patients have families and may have other hidden problems. You can end up caring for someone who's had a heart attack and who's an alcoholic, going through detoxification while in the hospital. Patients sometimes have large families, with an unending number of relatives asking about there condition; or they may not have anyone. The patient may speak a different language and as the nurse you have to to develop a way to communicate with them. The great consolation is that I am not alone. I'm a member of a team. But I need to communicate with my co-workers and as an advocate for my patient.
My knowledge and my skills have both increased with experience. And I recognize now what is normal and what is not normal in most patients. Still, I have to be a detective sometimes. Communication is almost as important as observation. You need to listen to people and ask questions and assess people hands-on, listening to their lungs, abdomen and vital signs including temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Documentation is a time-consuming but critical responsibility.
Not only do you physically care for the patient, and assist in washing him, feeding him, assessing his vital signs and administering medications and dressing wounds, you have to do it in a timely way. Fortunately, what you cannot do can be completed by the nurses who replace you.
The most important thing to remember is that it's all about the patients; you are working for them.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is going home and feeling like I have successfully completed my tasks and provided "good nursing care" to all of my patients.
The worst part is the sense of incompletion. This is the reality of having to spread yourself thin. There isn't enough time to do everything.
Job Tips: My advice to anyone entering the nursing profession is, at the minimum, to get a BSN (and perhaps continue to get your Masters). But make sure you develop your skills in real nursing. I started in a hospital on a medical surgical unit. I feel this was the best thing, because it allowed me to develop my skills and learn the basics.
Additional Thoughts: I think the most surprising thing in the medical field is how much it's become a business. A lot of it's about money.
I think the most important qualities for success in life, as well as on the job, are confidence, integrity and the ability to communicate successfully. Never be afraid to ask questions or voice your opinion.
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