Paramedical Services (commonly referred to as Para) are those career paths where the trained individuals assist Doctors and Surgeons in various capacities and ways. For example, the para could be in Radiography, Medical Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Pathological Lab etc. As the health care services get better, the health care industry brings a more demand for trained Paramedical Professionals. In this article, we discuss if ICU Nurse career for you ?
What is an ICU Nurse ?
In the intensive care unit, the patient needs to be constantly looked after and monitored by a team of highly medicos and para medicos. Usually this team includes consultant doctors, physiotherapists, dieticians and ICU nurses. Each one of them is equipped with very specialized knowledge and skills.
In ICU, specially trained nurses provide round-the-clock care and monitoring. The nurses to patients ratio is very high as each patient in ICU is usually assigned his or her own ICU nurse or critical care nurse.
Is ICU Nurse Career For You?
When a patient experiences a medical emergency, the actions of medical professionals in the front line are crucial. It can sometimes draw a subtle line between life and death. So, undoubtedly, working in the emergency department can be complicated.
Role and Job Responsibilities of an ICU Nurse
As an ICU nurse, you will be treating patients who come through the emergency department for many reasons – injury, acute-onset symptoms, and trauma. You will be dealing with patients of all ages and backgrounds. Most often, these patients are experiencing life-threatening situations. Hence, ICU agency nurse jobs expect you to be quick in recognising these acute problems and take steps to stabilise the patient condition immediately.
ICU nurses who treat patients requiring the highest acuity of care in a controlled and structured setting. ICU nurses provide expert care to patients using their specialised skills and knowledge of disease pathology. They intervene to sustain life through quick, effective, independent, and meticulous actions.
Most patients coming into the ICU are either ventilated or on life-supporting systems at the least. As an ICU nurse, you need to recognise the decompensation symptoms pre-emptively and take swift actions. You are the advocates of your patients and work in collaboration with other medical professionals. The environment in the ICU is structured, of high acuity, and is multifaceted.
From gunshot wounds, stroke, heart attack, fractured bones, to motor vehicle accidents, ICU nurses see it all. As such, you need to have excellent observation capabilities, quick assessment skills, and treat symptoms to lessen the severity of the condition.
You may have to start a CPR for reversing the cardiopulmonary arrest or provide blood products for a case of hemorrhage. Sometimes, you may even have to look deep and discover underlying medical conditions that are not apparent on the outside. ICU nursing is a fast-paced, adrenaline gushing job and is entirely unpredictable.
Skills of an ICU Nurse
Now that you have a good idea on the roles of an ICU nurse, it’s time to see the essential skills that will make you effective in your role.
Nursing, in general, requires quick thinking. With ICU nurse jobs, every second counts for sustaining a patient. It may be a daunting prospect, but ICU nurses are expected to handle any situation and make sound, on-the-spot judgments. You will need to deliver the right treatment instantly, develop a strong sense of decisiveness, and analyse a large number of symptoms.
The ICU department is a place where tides of patients come in for different kinds of care and treatment. As such, your role will constantly be changing and will have to rise to many challenges. Succeeding in a busy ICU department requires you to deliver consistent levels of patient care.
This function needs to be performed through long shifts that demand serious stamina. While all the departments in the hospital have peak traffic, ICU can be something truly overwhelming. You may struggle in the beginning, but gaining professional experience will make you understand what works best for you.
As you already understand, being in the ICU is quite difficult for patients and their families. You will often be dealing with confused and distressed family members. Hence, showing empathy makes a tremendous difference to these grieving individuals. You need to maintain a composed, respectful, and professional demeanour all the while you are doing so.
You will witness all types of delicate situations – from absurd injuries to life-changing traumas. Every case will deserve the same empathetic levels. You need to be a comforting source for the patients in their most desperate times.
Tensions run high in the ICU department. As the first contact point, you receive a fair share of patient’s frustration, confusion, and even anger. The nature of ICU also requires some waiting time.
But most people do not approve of this wait and start to create troubles. Handling such difficult patients is a skill you need to master for ICU agency nurse jobs. Mastering this skill will help you take control of the situation and show the patient who is really in charge.
ICU nursing can sometimes become an exhausting experience. There is no shortage of emotional and physical challenges while working in this domain. Now, it is not unlikely that patients or their families take out their frustrations on you. Strong ICU nurses are resilient enough to bounce back from the challenges thrown at them. You will have to learn to shut out distractions, focus on your duty, and prioritize the delivery of top-class patient care.
Multitasking is an integral part of an ICU job. There will be times when you are left pondering on what might be behind the curtain. You need to combine a large number of patients, a variety of symptoms, and a hectic working environment. The art of multitasking may take time, but you can eventually master it and provide high standards of care to all.
ICU is a job profile that can give you plentiful knowledge. By interacting with people from various walks of life, you will be gaining an experience of your lifetime. While the job does pose challenges, you can benefit from unmatched professional experience.
ICU Nurse Salary
Entry-level nurses with under one-year experience in the ICU can expect an annual pay of £23,000. This average total compensation includes bonuses, tips and overtime pay. Nurses in their early ICU careers, typically between one to four years of experience earns an average of €24,516.
Your salary may reach up to £28,833 in your mid-career and £31,503 after 10 to 19 years of experience. Employees over 20 years of experience can expect an average total compensation of £36,248.
Article contributed by: Nancy Ahuja
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