David Ricke
August 2022
Neurosurgical ICU
UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital
United States




David’s passion and vision lie in striving to be the best Neurosurgical ICU in the country. He continuously researches the evidence to improve processes and optimize the care we deliver.
Where to start? David Ricke is the leader of all leaders and the backbone of the Neuro ICU. Through the good times and the challenges, his commitment and dedication are unwavering. There is never a moment that David’s mind is not thinking through, exploring options, or pursuing a way to improve the delivery of patient care and supporting the staff caring for patients in the Neuro ICU and at UCH. If you ever drop into his office, likely you will find an empty chair. If you continue on into the unit, there you will find David, engaged in conversation with staff, patients, or patient families and brainstorming our next great opportunity.

David’s passion and vision lie in striving to be the best Neurosurgical ICU in the country. He continuously researches the evidence to improve processes and optimize the care we deliver. Additionally, he is always encouraging and engaging with staff to think critically and identify opportunities and innovative ways to improve patient care and the workflow of the unit. David is committed to the growth and development of the staff and manages to find time to be involved in it all. He is a great resource and supports leading the CNA/ACP group to develop and improving their group dynamics and workflow, working closely with the New Grads in guiding them through their first evidence-based practice project, and supporting experienced RNs in continuing their education in graduate programs or professional growth in a UEXCEL credentialing projects, job shares or even a role change. He believes that while this may contribute to staff leaving the unit, they will continue to be supported in opportunities to grow and pursue their passions in patient care.

The beginning of the COVID pandemic had a major impact on the Neuro ICU and staff. Multiple times the Neuro ICU and patients were uprooted and the unit transformed into a COVID ICU unit at a moment’s notice. Without hesitation David led his staff through the challenges they faced; learning to care for patients with a new and unknown diagnosis, caring for patients in shared or makeshift units, supporting staff as they lost patients, as they navigated challenges of quarantine, and providing resources for staff as they struggled with new hardships. David has continuously recognized staff for all of their hard and amazing work for the patients and incredible perseverance through the challenges and unknown.

As the tide of the pandemic has shifted, David continues to recognize the challenges that staff are facing and works to identify ways to support all staff in moving forward and achieving wellness. With the generous gift from a private donor, David has collaborated with a psychologist, research nurse scientist, and project coordinator in implementing a multifaceted wellness program for all staff aimed at burnout prevention and staff retention. Wellness seminars are offered during staff meetings, and wellness offerings including meditation, yoga, expressive writing, and drop-in sessions with a licensed mental health provider are readily available to all staff.

While the Neuro ICU has undeniably faced great obstacles and trying times in recent years, there is no doubt that this unit has made it through those times and is better, having David as its leader. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to make us the BEST Neurosurgical ICU in the country, we wouldn’t be here without you!