Critical care nursing refers to the specialization that with high-dependency patients in the ICU unit. It is also referred to ICU nursing because most of the patients in critical care face life-threatening with conditions. A critical care nurse is also referred to as an ICU nurse.
Critical care nurses work in a range of specialties including trauma care, coronary, pediatric, medical, cardiothoracic, high risk nurseries, burns, surgical and other specialties.
ICU nurses worn together with multidisciplinary specialists including physiotherapists, doctors and consultants among other professionals towards optimal patient care.
Critical care nursing can be tedious and challenging both physically and emotionally since it comes with extensive patient care and long working hours including night shifts die to the high-pressure conditions.
As a result, critical care nurses should be alert in a position to make highly sophisticated lifesaving judgements since most patients in the ICU are usually in unstable conditions.
Critical care nurses duties include but are not limited to checking and recording patient’s vital signs, assisting physicians, ordering diagnostic tests, taking samples from the patients as well as managing and monitoring life support and ventilation equipment. Critical care nurses may also provide patients with personal care such as bathing and dressing them, and also administer medication. Sometimes they also undertake family liaison duties, which include educating both patient and the family members as well as providing psychological support. Critical care nurses are also expected to liaise with the new team if a patient gets transferred to another facility to ensure safe transition.
Becoming a Critical Care Nurse
More often than not, patients in the ICU or in critical care are often unstable, unconscious and exhibit extremely unhealthy or erratic vital signs. Since it is also possible some of them nearing death, critical care nurses are should be highly trained to only exhibit top-notch and specialized care.
It is the duty if the critical care nurse to attend to the patients’ daily needs although there are specialists and physicians who attend to the treatment and other primary needs. ICU nurses care for both children and adult patients recovering from serious medical conditions or injuries. There are ICU nurses who also work in units that deal with specific illnesses or wards, such as burn units. It is due to the nature if the critical care work environment that makes them be in demand as by the end of the day there are more critical care patients that there are nurses. This career tests the very bounds, passion and dedication towards the care of critical care patients. This means in as much as education and training are important towards becoming a critical care nurse, the long long working hours and stressful work environments makes the career really challenging. It takes a really dedicated person to become a successful ICU as it also requires top-notch communication skills as well as the ability to assess a patient’s condition and quickly make life-saving decisions.
The critical care nursing career is also heart wrenching and emotionally draining as they face the harsh reality of losing patients every now and then in spite if their best efforts. Anyone seeking to become a critical care nurse should be emotionally stable and have the ability to deal with patient loss in a quick and healthy manner.