30 Major Duties and Responsibilities of an ICU Nurse

Job Description of ICU Nurse:

ICU nurse is also known as a critical care nurse. Critical care nurses provide most of the direct care to patients in life-threatening situations within the intensive care unit. ICU nurses commonly provide care to patients suffering from cardiac disease, brain injuries, accident victims, and patients recovering from complex surgeries that need frequently nursing care.

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ICU nurse
Fig: ICU nurse works in a hospital

Intensive care unit nurses work very closely with physicians and other members of the health care team. They need to be skilled to assess patients’ problems quickly and capable to use high-tech equipment. They use their advanced skills to care for patients who are critically ill and at high risk for life-threatening health problems.

Critical care nurses or ICU nurses must be physically, mentally, and emotionally strong to work with seriously ill patients and their loved ones. Most patients in a critical care unit are physically and mentally unstable and they require respiratory and heart monitoring as well as treatment adjustments. ICU staff RNs are responsible for managing medication doses, anesthesia, and ventilator support.

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Main Qualities of a Critical Care Nurse:

Critical care nurses or ICU nurses must be proficient in a wide variety of high-level nursing skills. ICU nurses need to be a specialist in evaluating intensive care patients, recognizing complications, administering care, and coordinating with other members of the critical care team. Successful critical care nurses also excel at interpersonal communication, leadership, strategic planning, critical thinking, and decision-making.

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When a patient suffers a heart attack, shock, stroke, respiratory distress severe trauma, or another severe medical issue, it is necessary to receive immediate and intensive nursing care. Critical care nurses are adept at providing such care in settings where patients can be given complex assessments and treatment.

Duties and Responsibility of ICU nurse:

Specific critical care nurse or ICU nurse duties and responsibilities can include:

  1. Monitor exact, detailed reports and records of the critical ICU patients.
  2. Monitor and record symptoms and changes in patients’ conditions and information to the physician.
  3. Order, interpret and evaluate diagnostics tests to identify and assess the patient’s condition.
  4. Carefully observe and document patient medical information and vital signs.
  5. Document patients’ medical histories and assessment findings.
  6. Document patients’ treatment plans, interventions, outcomes, or plan revisions.
  7. Consult and coordinate with health care team members about whole patient care plans.
  8. Modify patient treatment plans as indicated by patient’s response and conditions.
  9. Monitor the critical patients for changes in status and indications of conditions such as sepsis or shock and institute appropriate interventions.
  10. Administering intravenous fluids and medications as per doctor’s order.
  11. Monitor patients’ fluid intake and output to detect emerging problems such as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
  12. Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
  13. Identify patients who are at risk of complications due to nutritional status.
  14. Direct and supervise less-skilled nursing/health care personnel, or supervise a particular unit on one shift to patient’s response and conditions.
  15. Treating wounds and providing advanced life support.
  16. Assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopy, endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, and elective cardioversion.
  17. Ensuring that ventilators, monitors, and other types of medical equipment function properly.
  18. Ensure that equipment or devices are properly stored after use.
  19. Identify malfunctioning equipment or devices.
  20. Collaborating with fellow members of the critical care team.
  21. Responding to life-saving situations, using nursing standards and protocols for treatment.
  22. Critical care nurses may also care for pre-and post-operative patients when those patients require ICU care.
  23. Besides, some act as managers and policymakers, while others perform administrative duties.
  24. Assess patients’ pain levels and sedation requirements.
  25. Prioritize nursing care for assigned critically ill patients based on assessment data and identified needs.
  26. Assess family adaptation levels and coping skills to determine whether intervention is needed.
  27. Acting as a patient advocate.
  28. Providing education and support to patient families.
  29. ICU nurses must be able to draw ABG Blood and interpret the report correctly.
  30. ICU nurses should have enough knowledge about GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale) and also the evaluation capacity of patient condition.

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