For the first time. I’m very excited!!!
So I’ve officially completed a year and 1 month in ICU. I am now permanently employed in general ICU, and have a “home” for the first time in my nursing career, hooray!
The first half of last year was spent in a super busy cardiothoracics ICU (CICU). It was incredibly overwhelming. I had no surgical nursing experience, let alone ICU experience, so I was hit with a double whammy of post op patients who were VERY sick. Some still had their chests open. Some had to have them reopened in front of me. By the end of my 6 months though, I felt pretty competent in “taking back” a post op. I did feel that my learning experiences were limited; patients were generally only on certain inotropes, on certain modes of ventilation, and we were only really having to focus on their heart and lungs. I was ready to move on.
I moved to the general ICU that I have now become a permanent member of and suddenly a whole new world was opened up to me. I felt I was ACTUALLY in ICU. Cardiac arrests, motorcycle accidents, and liver transplants. Lots of liver transplants. Lots of men with thong tans (by thongs, I mean the ones you wear on your feet in Australia) who had pushed their livers beyond their limit. Lots of alcohol withdrawal.
Overdoses of all kinds, suicide attempts, bowel cancers, haematology patients, pneumonia. Anything. And that’s what I love! Variety, throw it at me.
I was pretty scared by the prospect of being attacked in general ICU. While heart patients are generally short term, sent off to the ward as soon as possible, before they have a chance to hit you, general ICU patients tend to stay for longer. I’ve realised that yes, we do get dangerous patients, but more often than not it’s because they’re delirious and not just being assholes. I’ve become an expert at holding down delirious patients while a procedure is done, and can usually tell when I’m about to have a fist thrown at my face. I have been kicked in the chest and slapped across the face, but generally these patients are delirious because they’ve been with us for too long, which means they’re pretty weak too. Which is fantastic. Haloperidol is amazing too.
I’ve recently completed the dialysis course and so that is my new challenge. I had 4 days of dialysis last week, so I’m getting the hang of it. It’s awesome to move onto the sicker patients now. I’ve noticed that with sicker patients comes more IV pumps. I’m juggling 5 IV pumps as 4 syringe drivers on night shift tonight, struggling with access despite a CVC and PICC, and may need to start dialysis soon too. On top of that, my patient is on pressure controlled ventilation, much less commonly used than the standard volume ventilation that is used as a first line kind of mode.
Lastly I also recently became accredited in advanced life support. This pretty much means I can now control the defibrillator in arrests, which kind of scares the crap out of me. It also means I can be sent to ICU assists, where I will go to deteriorating patients on the ward. Scary but exciting.
So that’s a bit of a recap, more soon!!
mannurse asked: welcome back, icu nurse
Well it’s been a long time, but I will begin blogging again this week!!! I apologise for disappearing for awhile. I just completed my year-long inductory ICU program, and it was pretty intense. But now I’m a permanent ICU nurse AND I’m doing 12 hours shifts, which means more days off, and more time to share the limited wisdom I have gained over the last year.
Thanks for following me everyone, talk to you all VERY SOON!!!