I did the first part of my practicum on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. This experience was very beneficial to me in many ways, from learning medications to learning about shift work. The ICU gives nurses a lot of freedom to titrate medications to achieve a desired therapeutic effect, and the doctors and nurses have a very close working relationship to make that level of decision-making possible. Actually administering medications and doing worksheets on those that I did not recognize or know certain information about helped to solidify my pharmaceutical knowledge. Administering medications also makes nurses think critically about the desired effect and evaluating the patient condition to determine if the medication is safe to give. I worked the night shift in the ICU which was a great experience, even if I didn't really enjoy flipping my sleep schedule. It was interesting to get experience like this especially because as a new nurse I will probably be working the night shift.
I am now working in the Emergency department (ER) at CRMC. This is a very different environment from the ICU because of the high patient turn-over rate and quick series of events for all patient cares. The most important thing that I have learned in this setting is how to work as a team. It is so fast-paced that if everyone does not do their part and help out other co-workers, patient care is slow and ineffective. This is also important when we get traumas or codes that come in as emergency patients. The entire hospital responds to help out in their assigned capacity, but there has to be a nurse in charge of the room making sure that there are not more people in there than necessary, and that all the other areas of the ER and the hospital are adequately covered to ensure that non-emergent patients are still receiving appropriate care.
Both areas have taught me a lot and are unique in their own ways. I have definitely not decided at this point which one I like more!