Do you want to know about Intensive Care nursing in Zimbabwe? You have heard about intensive care or probably one of your relative or friend has been in the ICU but you don’t know what it is, what happens in ICU, who goes to ICU, what nurses in ICU do, are ICU nurses different from other nurses? Yes, today you are going to have all your questions answered on this platform.
An intensive care unit or critical care unit is a special department of a hospital or health care facility that provides critical care and life support for an acutely ill and injured patient.
Intensive care is the specialised treatment given to patients who are acutely unwell and require critical medical care.
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The nurse who evaluates patient’s conditions, administer treatment, and provide constant support during recovery is the one called ICU nurse. ICU nurses have specialized registered nurses who hold a post-basic diploma in intensive care nursing.
What Does an ICU Nurse Do in Zimbabwe
ICU nurse works in the intensive care unit of a hospital with either paediatrics, neonates, or adults. They specialize depending on the needs of the patient demographic and the size of the hospital in which they work.
ICU nurses work with patients who have or developing a life-threatening complication, trauma or disease process and they require intensive and frequent nursing care, assessments and monitoring.
Nursing Duties of ICU Nurse in Zimbabwe
- Works with the interdisciplinary team to develop a nursing care plan to stabilize patients
- Prioritizes patient care plan based on patient needs and care resources
- Communicating and advocating for both on behalf of the patient and the medical team
- Administer medications as required efficiently and effectively
- Closely monitor one or several patients
- Identifies patient and family knowledge gap and provides health education appropriately
- Document patient care, protocols and unit procedures accurately
- Observe ethical considerations and rights of patients, demonstrating understanding, confidentiality and risk management.
- Move patients to comfort care for end of life
- Make quick decisions while multitasking
- Check and record vital signs every hour
- Head-to-toe assessment and documentation every 4 hours
- Lab draws usually at least daily
- Repositioning and skin integrity check every 2 hours
- Wound care every shift
- Frequent evaluation of continuous telemetry monitoring
- Constant critical thinking to determine worst-case scenarios for each bodily system and systematic preparation for each scenario.
How to Become an ICU Nurse in Zimbabwe
You have to enrol for an 18months ICU course (Diploma in Intensive Care Unit) offered by Nurse’s Council of Zimbabwe at different hospitals throughout the country.
Qualifications and Experience
Registered General Nurse registered with the Nurses Council of Zimbabwe.
A minimum of two years post general nurse training experience.
Current and valid Practicing Certificate.
Five ‘0’ Level passes including English, Maths and Science subject.
National Identity card.
What is the Difference Between an ICU Nurse and Other Nurses
ICU nurses care for patients who are considered unstable which can be either an unstable respiratory system or cardiovascular system, or have a high likelihood of one or both of these systems becoming unstable and require closer monitoring.
A patient admitted to medical-surgical, orthopaedics, or another speciality is considered to have a stable condition or disease process, which may or may not deteriorate to unstable.
If any patient from medical-surgical, orthopaedics or other speciality has his /her condition deteriorates, the patient may be transferred to the ICU for closer monitoring. The ICU team responds rapidly and appropriately to stabilize the patient’s condition.
ICU interventions such as intubation, starting vasopressors, or pacing a patient’s heart (among other interventions, which are highly situation-dependent) may be initialized quickly and efficiently due to the higher level of care in the ICU.
Where Do ICU Nurses Work in Zimbabwe?
Within a hospital, ICU nurses work in intensive care units, step-down units (typically a transitional unit between ICU and regular care), and in emergency or recovery rooms.
Nurses who work in an ICU may work in a unit where specific types of patients are cared for such as pediatric or neonatal ICUs.
Although many ICU nurses work in hospitals, they may also care for critically ill patients in other environments, including homes, clinics and outpatient surgeries or managed care facilities.
What are the Qualities of an ICU Nurse?
A great ICU nurse has excellent communication skills, especially when it comes to speaking and listening. They are able to solve problems and effectively communicate with patients, families, doctors and team members.
A truly stellar nurse is able to advocate for her patients and anticipate their needs.
ICU nurse must have the ability to accept suffering and death without letting it get personal is crucial. A great ICU nurse is able to manage the stress of sad situations but also draws strength from the wonderful outcomes that can and do happen.
ICU nurses must have empathy for the pain and suffering of patients, being able to feel compassion and provide comfort. They learn how to recognize the symptoms and deal with it efficiently.
Being sympathetic to the patient’s hospital experience can go a long way in terms of improving patient care.
A good ICU nurse is flexible with regards to working hours and responsibilities. Nurses are often required to work long periods of overtime, late or overnight shifts, and weekends.
Attention to Detail
An ICU nurse pays excellent attention to detail and is careful not to skip steps or make errors. From reading a patient’s chart correctly to remembering the nuances of a delicate case.
An ICU nurse has excellent interpersonal skills and works well in a variety of situations with different people as they are the link between doctors and patients as well. A good ICN balances the needs of the patient and doctor as seamlessly as possible.
An ICU nurse maintains her energy throughout her shift and should always stay strong, eat right, and have a healthy lifestyle since they frequently do physical tasks, standing for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects (or people), and performing a number of taxing manoeuvres on a daily basis.
Problem Solving Skills
A great nurse can think quickly and address problems as or before they arise. Having good problem-solving skills will help in handling the family, soothing a patient, dealing with a doctor, or managing the staff.
ICN needs to be ready to respond quickly to emergencies and other situations that arise.
Staying on their feet, keeping their head cool in a crisis, and a calm attitude are great qualities in a nurse.
Good ICU nurses respect people and rules, they remain impartial at all times and are mindful of confidentiality requirements and different cultures and traditions.
The following skills are essential if you want to become a successful ICU nurse.
- Technical ICU nursing skills
- Passion for the job
- Ability to work on a team
- Fantastic organizational skills
- Tenacity in the face of difficult situations
- Ability to evaluate ever-changing situations
- Plan for self-care