A forty-year-old man found unresponsive at a friend’s house presents to the ER pulseless with CPR underway. After several rounds of Epi and CPR, the patient regains a pulse. The ED staff saved his life. He’s transferred to the ICU. For so many, the patient’s story seems to end once they pass through the ICU doors, but for us, their tale is only just beginning. This patient suffered a severe anoxic brain injury bordering on brain death, was a potential organ donor, had significant hemodynamic instability requiring 2 on 1 nursing care, extensive coordination of supporting services and critical thinking. Our PA/NP staff and nursing staff not only dominated all of these things but spent a significant amount of time supporting the patient’s mother, wife, 3 young children and extended family. We bring these cases home with us. We tell our husband’s they better never leave us so soon and hug our babies extra tight and yet we go into these rooms day after day with a brave face, offering words of comfort and support knowing that we can’t make the patient better, but trying to make the families better.
Though one nurse may be assigned to the patient for their shift, the entire team cares for the patient. We’re all in there answering call bells, helping to turn the patient, adjusting leads, welcoming guests and offering condolences.
We may be limited by the confines of our 7 beds but that doesn’t mean we’re only caring for that many patients a day. Frequently we get 3-5 admissions on top of our existing critically ill or significantly ill patients. It often takes time to move a patient out, clean the room and prepare for this new admission, however, that doesn’t mean the patient’s critical care isn’t underway. The NP/PA team can be seen on the floor ordering diagnostics, initiating therapies, starting lines, talking to the patient and family and reviewing the medical chart. In the meantime the nurses work diligently to make sure everything is tied up in a bow on the patient they’re sending out but that their new patients are also researched with all of their supplies at the ready. The nurses in the unit are great resources for those on the floor as far as medication administration, trach and feeding tube care, working their resources and reviewing warning signs.
We’ve added many new teammates to our ICU family this past year.
Denise Scanelli, PA and Fatima Abdalla, NP have done so well stepping into their new roles as ICU providers. They have both learned so much as far as how to provide the best evidence-based medicine for conditions such as sepsis and respiratory failure but also have learned how to coordinate specialists, formulate intricate care plans and to guide families through discussions regarding goals of care. Kim Principato NP has been the back bone to the NP/PA team for the past 3 years. She is a stellar practitioner, working all nights, tons of overtime and is so compassionate with the patient and families and passionate about the medicine.
While our nurses stand together, many do stand out.
Kerri, Emily, Allie and Andrea have not been ICU nurses for all that long and yet they are superstars. They work enthusiastically hanging meds and blood products, titrating drips, thinking critically and advocating for their patients. They’re instincts match their expertise.
Shannon and Mindy have become leaders on the night shift. They not only take excellent care but have spent significant time supporting those just off orientation in learning how to take care of their assignments.
Karen, Becca, Cristina, Kathryn and Fran after many years of working in the ICU have many tricks of the trade to share with our new hires and have worked extensively to train our new teammates and impart their wisdom.
Patrick, Renee, Kayla and Nancy are fresh to the team. Despite the orientation process, these new ICU nurses have frequently had to learn trial by fire and have come out on top with excellent training and the support of their colleagues.
We have many per diems such as Jenn Jarzynka, Deb Granara and Lela Shiferaw. These nurses work so hard when they’re here and are such a pleasure to work with.
Our seasoned critical care floats, Rob Kipfer, Proctor Hayes and Mary Lareau are always at the ready to jump into action when needed and are excellent resources in and around the hospital.
Not only do our patient’s get excellent care but so do their families. We have better APACHE scores than other hospitals in the eICU network and more open visitation than other ICU’s in the area, improving families’ experience. We have skilled clinicians and accomplished nurses who put their bodies, minds, and hearts to providing the highest level care. Our patients are lucky to have them and we’re lucky to work with them.