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Clinical Practicum (Summer Year 1): Day 4

I had a different CI today, and we spent all of our time in the ICU and PCU. I loved that she took her time to go through the chart review and asked me questions about lab values. She asked me questions the entire day to test my knowledge and explained everything that I did not understand. It was a bit nerve-wracking to be questioned for 4 hours, and I did feel a little silly when I didn’t know things that we’ve talked about in class before.

I learned a lot of new information about lab values, lines and tubes, what some medical procedures are. She was great at explaining everything she was doing. I was also able to be hands-on with two patients by doing PROM and helping with two transfers. I was nervous because I haven’t been hands-on with a patient before, but it was a really great experience.

The first patient wasn’t alert when we entered the room. My CI showed me how to do PROM on his leg. We’ve done this before with classmates, but it was so different on an actual patient.

There was another patient in the ICU who was hooked up to so many different things. We counted 9 different lines, including a nasogastric tube (for food) and a Foley catheter (for urine). It was sad to see someone in such a poor state, but I am so thankful that I was able to learn from him.

There was also a woman who did not want to do physical therapy that day. My CI made it a point to tell me how sometimes you have to educate the patients about the importance of PT.

I was also able to complete the documentation for the last patient that we saw. My CI showed me what to click on and what to type when I wasn’t sure exactly where certain information should be inputted. The electronic medical records make documenting pretty fast, at least compared to the handwritten SOAP notes that I’ve done in class. I’m still amazed at how quickly all the PT’s can find the information that they’re looking for and document all their patients at the end of the day. I take so many notes during the 4 hours, but I still have difficulty remember enough to write my SOAP notes when I get home.

The ICU and PCU felt like their own specialty to me, and it was pretty different from all the other areas of the hospital. I was a lot more nervous around these patients because it felt like they were more fragile, for lack of a better word, and I feel like I don’t know very much about interacting with patients yet. I would like to have more experience in the ICU in the future though.


Have you ever worked or observed in the ICU? Share your experience below!

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