Until 10 weeks ago, I was a theatre nurse and now I’m nursing ventilated COVID patients in ICU on 12-hour shifts.
On 12th April I started my first shift allocated to a patient who was ventilated via a tracheostomy with supervision from an ICU nurse who was overseeing 3 other non ICU nurses, on a shift from 7.30 to 2030 I took handover from the night staff and by the end of the shift I was taking blood gases, administering propofol, drawing up noradrenaline and insulin for the IV pumps, two hourly turning of the patient, maintaining oral hygiene, giving medications and changing feed via the nasogastric tube, looking after the ventilator and the tracheostomy.
The ICU nurses are amazing for being so patient supporting and teaching us and as a result, I now feel confident to put in a shift without disturbing the ICU staff too much. I have looked after ventilated patient’s on continuous positive airway pressure, Bi level ventilation and supported patients being weaned off their ventilators. I’ve returned to the unit weekly to see progression and deterioration, cried with sadness as some died and cried with happiness as others were discharged Our ICU nursing team have worked tirelessly around the clock to create a ‘reserve army’ of people who can be mobilised to look after these ventilated patients safely I am very proud to be part of this fabulous NHS reserve team It has been my absolute pleasure to be welcomed into the ICU as warmly as I have.
ICU Nurse Appreciation
I have learned how hard the job of an ICU nurse can be and the huge range of care these nurses give to keep a long-term ventilated patient safe, it is a full-time job to look after just one ventilated patient but with the support of the team of ‘reservists’ of which I am a part, we have maintained patient safety throughout the COVID crisis.
If you enjoyed this piece then we have some more stories from some AppLocum frontline heroes! Here is ‘The Story of an Agency ODP’