Organizing Yourself, the New ICU Nurse on the Block

One of the most interesting things I came to learn when I was orientating in the ICU was the system of report.  Now in the ED it was a little different.. “Are they breathing?  Got a pulse? Great I’ll figure everything else out!”  Okay that might be an over simplification of ED shift report, but in general it’s pretty quick and then you’re moving on.  We would manage to get all of the info, but it was condensed.

The ICU is a different animal and you generally have that patient for a few more hours or days than the ED, there’s more consults involved and the subtle changes can be a big deal.

When I first went to the ICU I would give report off the top of my head, which generally went history, reason for visit, head to toe assessment, interventions and plan of care.  Now it might have been my own communication impairment or possibly some sort of new ICU nurse hazing, but some nurses would stop me mid word and request information that I was getting to or in some cases already gave.  That was a little annoying.

I came up with a plan to remedy that, and it worked out well.  Behold the shift report sheet.  Now you can come up with whatever works for you, but for me this little gem made life so much easier, especially for those patients you have for weeks to months.  I generally write in pencil so I can update it each shift.  It’s great for making a quick reference.  I also found it helpful because I can put it between myself and the oncoming nurse so there is a flow, and yes, all the info is there.

When I am transferring a patient out, I make a copy for the nurse who is getting the patient, this way they have a quick reference as opposed to sorting though a 10 page printed out summery. icu-shiftreport-

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