The atmosphere in the PICU is much calmer than one may originally anticipate. I was expecting an area with palpably high intensity, especially after learning that their census was low on the day of observation. However, the nurses in the PICU have everything under control at all times. They anticipate all situations and are very prepared to handle them. One can see just by observing that the nurses are very well educated and ready for any task they may be presented. For example, there were many hectic situations going on in the PICU during my time there and one would never know it by walking through the PICU. There are so many good things that can be said about their staff.
Most of the nurses in the PICU only have one patient. I was observing Kelly and she had one very ill patient, but she was as busy as a nurse with six patients. She had to set priorities on what needed to be done first, each hour, by a certain time, etc., as well as working very close with the doctors for the continuous changes in the patient's plan of care. Working with Kelly was one of the best learning experiences I have had as a student nurse thus far. She was so organized and efficient. I was amazed at the skill and hard work it took to care for a single patient. Kelly had the most patience I have ever witnessed in a nurse. She took the changes in the patient care with strides and did exactly what was asked of her, as well as still teaching me every step of the way.
One of the most valuable things I learned in the PICU is how critically important it is to stay in constant communication with the physician handling the patients care. The physician and nurse must work as a team to care for the patient. The most astonishing experiences I had in the PICU was how many different pumps, medications, ports, access sites, etc. that a patient can have. The patient who I was assigned to with Kelly had a GJ tube, 2 IV access sites, on a ventilator, had multiple infusion pumps, and medications going at all times. I was amazed at the knowledge that Kelly had when it came to operating each device.
For the patient I was assigned, I noticed the very palpable tension between the mother of the patient, the nurses, and physicians. The child was very ill and likely to die, and due to the emotions that were presented the mother was understandably very upset and paranoid. She demanded his feedings be stopped and refused certain treatments. Meanwhile, Kelly treated the mother with kindness and presented herself so professionally when dealing with the patient's parents. For a nurse in the PICU, I imagine they are presented with many uncomfortable and challenging situations. Understanding how the patients and families feel would be a priority for these nurses, as well as working with the families and keeping them constantly included in the plan of care. Kelly shined in this area of being a PICU nurse.