It's a high tempo, highly uncertain environment. Like any unit, we have a daily rhythm, but underneath we know that it can change at a moment's notice because of our patients’ critical conditions.
There’s not a lot of downtime in the ICU. Every nurse has two patients and is responsible for every patient’s needs. Most of our patients require constant cardiac and respiratory monitoring and continual adjustment of treatments. Nurses are the ones who are constantly at the patient’s bedside, so communication with physicians is a critical part of our job. While patient care is our primary focus, we also focus on patients’ families and help them make informed decisions about their loved ones. Our physicians value our knowledge and ideas. Since ICU patients usually have multiple doctors, nurses are constantly working with different physicians. I learn so much every day.
The source of my greatest job satisfaction comes from our nursing team. We're a very diverse group so there are a lot of unique personalities and opinions, but somehow we unite! Our strengths are complementary so we learn from each other and look out for each other. Our primary goal is to make sure our patients receive the best possible care.
Education is my priority. Highland offers classes and an education reimbursement program, which is very helpful. The nursing leadership is extremely considerate of my schedule. I often pick up additional shifts and am able to take a day off when needed.
I get to do the things I enjoy every day. I work with the latest technology and people I respect and like. I'm learning and growing constantly and make a difference in the lives of patients who really need me. It is very gratifying.