The Intensive Care team consists of many different, highly trained staff, working together, caring for seriously ill patients to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. It is likely that you will meet many of these health professionals during the ICU stay. Please refer to the full DISCLAIMER.
Intensive Care Nurses
Intensive Care nurses are responsible for the coordination and implementation of treatment and care for critically ill patients. Many have special experience, education and training in caring for critically ill and injured patients.ICU nurses' provide continuous bedside patient care and the constant monitoring allows for early identification of changes in a patient's condition.They are skilled in caring for and implementing treatment for critical illnesses and injuries.
Depending on the size of the ICU there will be a combination of nursing positions. Specific nursing positions in ICU include
- Registered nurses (RN) and clinical nurse specialists (CNS) care for patients at the bedside
- Nursing unit managers (NUM) are responsible for staffing and coordination of care in the ICU
- Clinical Nurse Consultants (CNC)who are responsible for clinical support, education and research
- Nurse educators (NE) and clinical nurse educators (CNE) who are responsible for the professional development of the intensive care nursing staff
- Research nurses who coordinate research in the ICU
- ICU Liaison Nurses who follow-up patients after they are discharged to ward areas
- Equipment nurses who maintain the intensive care equipment
- Student nurses from local universities undertaking clinical experience
Intensive Care Doctors
There are three levels of ICU in NSW depending on the size of the hospital. Each unit is staffed according to the complexity of patients who are admitted there. All units will have a specialist doctor in charge
Many larger intensive care units are staffed with a team of intensivists who come under the leadership of the Intensive Care Director. Depending on the size of the hospital and ICU there will be other ICU doctors who are undertaking training. These doctors include:
- The Intensive Care doctor is also referred to as the Intensivist or ICU Consultant.
- They are responsible for coordination of patient care in the ICU and will consult with other specialists.
- Intensivists are specialists who have completed advanced training in intensive care medicine or a related speciality such as anaesthetics, cardiology or emergency medicine.
- They are skilled in diagnosing and treating critical illnesses and injuries.
- The Intensivist is experienced in the use of heart monitoring equipment, breathing machines (ventilators) and other high technology health equipment.
When patients are admitted to hospital they are admitted under a physician or surgeon who is given ongoing responsibility for the management of the patient. When patients are admitted to ICU this responsibility is negotiated between the ICU doctors and the physician or surgeon. These specialities include:
- Senior registrars - these doctors have almost completed their advanced training in intensive care and will have a lot of care and responsibility delegated to them by the intensivists
- Registrars - these doctors have already completed several years of experience as doctors and are now undertaking training in intensive care or a related speciality area such as anaesthetics, emergency medicine or cardiology.
- Residents (RMOs) and interns are junior doctors are gaining experience caring for critically ill patients.
- Medical students from clinical schools undertaking clinical experience
- Brain (NEUROSURGERY or NEUROLOGY)
- Heart/chest (CARDIOTHORACIC or CARDIOLOGY)
- Abdomen (GENERAL SURGERY)
- Trauma (EMERGENCY)
- Bone (ORTHOPAEDIC)
- Spine (NEUROLOGY or ORTHOPAEDIC)
- Kidney (RENAL)
- Lungs (RESPIRATORY)
- Cancer (ONCOLOGY)
- Infectious Diseases
Other Intensive Care Team Members
Secretary / Ward Clerk provide administrative assistance for the ICU team Orderly / Wardsperson / patient care assistant - these staff assist nurses with patient care including turns and mobility as well as transfers to other areas of the hospital.
Allied Health Professionals
The ICU team cannot care for the ICU patient without the help of other health care professionals.Within the ICU you may also meet other staff such as
- Physiotherapists are responsible for providing physical therapy for patients such as mobility assistance and chest physiotherapy
- Pharmacists attend ward rounds and assist doctors and nurses with advice regarding medications as well as ensuring a supply of medication for patients.
- Social Workers are available at most large hospitals. They provide invaluable support for families of critically ill including counselling and assistance with financial matters such Centrelink
- Occupational therapists evaluate the ability of the patient to carry out everyday activiites of daily leaving and develop treatment plans to improve the patient's abilities
- Speech therapists evaluate the speech and swallowing of patients.
- Dietitians provide advice on the best nutrition for patients
- Radiography technicians
Other staff assisting in the work of the unit may also include the:
- Biomedical Engineer
Last Updated on Friday, 06 May 2011 11:52