Critical care or ICU nursing is a challenging but rewarding career option. In an ICU environment, you can see patients suffering from life-threatening problems are treated, and this can put you on edge. The medical needs of ICU patients are very challenging. Hence, you need to have the required skills, experience and knowledge to handle the critical situation and save their life
Before you start exploring the best ICU agency nurse jobs, here are the things that you must know about this speciality.
What an ICU Nurse actually do?
Being an ICU nurse, you carry a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders, thus you need to possess critical thinking. Immediate and on-spot decisions need to be taken in any emergency situation, so if you are not able to take the right decision at the right time, this rewarding career option path is not a cup of your tea. You need to respond and give your best if patient in an ICU is in critical condition until the doctor came. Mental stress levels are always high in ICUs. You have to work under stressed environment as the person lying in front of you is may be about to die. Along with that you need to act like a director of the movie who directs the actors behind the scenes. Here is a list of some roles and responsibilities that an ICU nurse needs to do while working.
The responsibilities of an agency ICU nurse include:
- It’s crucial to identify the medical conditions of a patient. It includes ordering the necessary tests and diagnosis.
- Administering medicines to the patient from time to time , performing blood tests as and when required, any other tasks required to ensure the well-being of your patients.
- You also need to act like a messenger between the patient, doctors, and family of the patient. Giving emotional support to the family also comes under your role. You need to act on fast pace to update about the condition of the patient to family. If there is any requirement regarding the health of the patient such as if a patient requires a blood transfusion, you need to inform the family immediately to arrange blood.
- Checking the patient’s schedule and keeping all the paperwork updated are additional responsibilities of an ICU nurse along with taking care of patient and his family members.
- Critical care nurses are also expected to keep a check on the schedules, maintain the charts, and sort out the paperwork for the patients.
- Your role and responsibility may change depending upon the area you have been assigned. For example, you need to act differently with more care and affection in case of paediatrics and aged people while you may handle the middle- aged people easily.
Why Should You Choose ICU Nursing?
When it comes to ICU agency nurse jobs, you will find a lot of gaps between the demands and availability of the nurses. It is mainly due to the challenges that come with it. But, despite challenges, it’s a fulfilling career option.
As an ICU nurse, you needn’t work with too many patients at a time. This offers you ample time to enjoy some free time and pursue other interests apart from your job.
Mostly, the ICU nurses interact directly with the doctors. It, in turn, gives them wonderful opportunities to learn and grow as a vital part of a healthcare team.
Due to their critical working conditions and being obliged to perform their utmost best calmly even under tremendous stress, critical care nurses are offered higher salary ranges in comparison with other nursing positions. The main factors impacting a critical care nursing salary are location, years of experience, level of degree, or any additional credentials or certifications professionals can hold
The Challenges of Being an ICU Nurse
The patients are brought under critical conditions to an ICU department. Hence, mortality rates are higher for this clinical speciality. Since ICU nurses experience this trauma firsthand, they are prone to emotional stress.
Also, the job requires high physical stress at times. You need to deal with distraught families as well. So, if you can handle all the emotional upheaval, you can definitely look forward to this promising career choice.
Types of Critical Care Units
There’s a variety of hospital settings where ICU nurses can find job opportunities. In a hospital, there are specialised critical care units for patients suffering from critical burns, cardiac problems, trauma, and medical emergencies. Typically, the types of ICU units in a hospital include:
- Intensive Care Units
The patients in an intensive care unit or ICU are often battling for their lives. They need consistent care and close monitoring with a ratio of 1:1 with nurses. As per the NHS rules, an ICU unit may also include an Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation therapy for patients who are critically ill.
- Burn Units
The burn units in the hospitals treat patients of all ages after they have sustained severe or minor burn injuries.
- High Dependency Care Units
In the high dependency units, the patients may not be as critically ill as those in the ICU, but they still need close care and monitoring. Here, patients need treatments that aren’t available in the general wards. Often, patients are shifted to high dependency units from ICU when they are in a recovery state before their discharge.
- Cardiothoracic Vascular Care Units
Adult patients undergoing cardiothoracic or heart transplant surgery are placed in this ward for specialised diagnosis, frequent monitoring, and specialised intensive care. In this regard, patients with critical heart conditions are admitted to this unit.
- Post Intensive Care Units
Here, the patients at the risk of Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) get post-critical care follow-up to ensure faster recovery from the trauma.
So, these are all the important aspects you need to know about ICU nursing before exploring the job options in this speciality.