Thursday was my first day taking on the total care of a patient on my unit. I wasn't that nervous as my preceptor was three feet away and this patient wasn't as high acuity as others I taken care of in the past. What was different was that I didn't have to ask the primary nurse to get medications for me or print the paperwork for blood draws for the lab. I was the primary nurse. I talked to the family on the phone, discussed the patient's status with the doctors, and endeared myself to at least one nurse on the night shift by bathing the patient before shift change. A good day.
I haven't really talked about the unit where I work. It's called CVRR, cardiovascular recovery room. We get patients right out of surgery for coronary artery bypass grafts, heart valve repairs or replacements, dialysis fistulas, heart transplants, anything to do with the heart or vasculature. The idea is for the patients to be on our unit for a limited amount of time, around a day, before they move on to a regular intensive care unit (ICU) or a monitored floor (called telemetry or just tele). Right out of surgery, the primary concern is keep them hemodynamically stable (heart rate, cardiac output, blood pressure, etc. interacting well to maintain the patient) while they recover from the anesthesia. As soon as possible, we want them off the mechanical ventilator and moving about. There's a lot more to it than that but I'll save some for future posts and for a time when I actually understand it better!