Secrets of an ICU nurse

ICU nurse

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Stephen at Page the PA – he is a rock star on Instagram sharing his experiences as he goes through PA school. He is doing his ICU rotation soon, so I thought I tell him a few secrets from this veteran ICU nurse! Please connect with him on IG @PagethePA and tell him I sent you!!

When most students, rotate through the ICU, they literally enter another world in health care. Whether they are new residents on service for the month, PA students, medical students or nursing students, the ICU experience is like no other rotation.  Sure, you may have seen a few sick folks, but ICU patients take that to a whole new level. It’s a smorgasbord of problems – all in one human fighting to survive. It’s the land with more devices, tubes and drains than any human should have to endure.  But, there is nothing like caring for a patient with multiple, often competing problems. The challenges are endless and the environment is often fast paced and demanding. But for a visiting student, it is certainly intimidating.

So, here’s a few tips from this 20-year ICU nurse that will hopefully make your experience a smooth one and ultimately make you want to come back for more!

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The Best Stethoscope

So as a clinical instructor I am often asked what type of stethoscope should the students invest in? Personally, this comes down to budget constraints, especially as a student. However, keep in mind that picking out your stethoscope is a pretty important decision. This will be one of your go-to tools in assessing your patients. I hate to sound cliche, but a patient’s life may depend on it. So chose wisely and carefully! Here are the one’s I personally have tried and the one that has been my work horse for over 15 years.

The Best Stethoscope

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Nursing School Survival Series – Acute Confusion

It starts out as a nice day at clinicals. Your nurse is happy to be working with you – bonus. You were prepared, organized and your morning is going nice and smooth. You go in to check on your previously alert and oriented patient…. and they are no longer very alert and no longer oriented. NOW WHAT? …although you will need to get your nurse and/ or instructor, what should you be thinking about in a patient with new onset of acute confusion? And in reality, one day you will be that nurse, so let’s learn what to do now!

Acute Confusion

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Updated EKG visualization video – another classic!

So, if you have had me as instructor for your cardiac section, I probably made you watch THIS VIDEO. A classic film demonstrating what the heart is doing during various cardiac cycles.

Well, look what I came upon… an updated version! This is perfect for students who are visual learners…. or nurses who just want a good laugh!

Enjoy!!


Practice EKG

This is a great online tool for practicing your ECG. It shows you continuous running strips to practice recognition. This is produced from SkillStat and their thoughts are that you need to have ready access to this knowledge as time counts and saves lives. Great practice for novice & expert nurse!
(And a thanks to the husband for telling me about it!)

ecg-tools  Skill Stat Link


Cardiac app

iheart

iHeart Touch app for iPad (and I believe it does work for iPhone/iTouch as well – nothing for Android, yet). Great, short computer animations of some big concepts – angioplasty, CABG, etc. Perfect for refreshers or even patient education. Thanks to Bethany Tucker for sharing!

iHeart Touch App Link to iTunes