A Day In The Life: Critical Care Nurse
Can you describe your key responsibilities?
Unlike other types of nurses, I look after one or two patients who are acutely or chronically ill. I specialise in dealing with adult patients who in a critical condition and need to be closely monitored. My general duties are to give the patients their medications, take personal care of them, checking patient blood pressure, monitoring the patient’s pulse and temperature, setting up drips, and supporting the recovery of patients that have undergone severe surgery or treatment.
What are your working hours like?
Although some might think a nurses working hours are tough, I quite like the working schedule. I work a mix of day and night shifts. We are required to work a minimum of 6 nights and at least 3 weekend shifts in a month. My day shift usually is from 7:30am-8:00pm and a night shift is from 7:30pm-8:00am. The good thing about my schedule is the fact that we get 4 days off after working 3 days in a row.
Did you require further education to get to your position?
Yes, I did a degree in nursing at the University of Leeds. My degree was comprised of 50% theory and 50% practice. I had the necessary experience to get hired from from my practice placement that I undertook. I then took part in an in-house training program for 6 months in order to obtain sufficient skills in order to work in various hospital wards. This was a very steep learning curve but after this became an intensive care nurse.
What are the pluses and minuses of working as a nurse?
The best part of my job is being involved in the process of making people feel better and doing my best to help improve their health in some way. Noticing the improvement in patients and comparing their health as to when they were admitted to the time they leave the hospital is highly satisfying.
I wouldn’t say there are any minuses for me but a less positive part of my job is the lack of staffing. This sometimes means that I am rushed off my feet when the ward gets busy. At times I physically cannot get away from what I am doing, due to the high number of patients and the lack of nurses available to tend to them.