A Day in the Intensive Care Unit

Devyn Curry

Kelsey Strahla wakes up at 4:45 a.m. for her critical care clinical, which begins at 6:30 at Deaconess Gateway Hospital.

The senior nursing major is assigned to a nurse and looks over a patient’s medical records before she goes to visit them.

“We do morning assessment of the patient and any morning medications that they need, along with looking over lab work if necessary,” Strahla said.

After the first patient assessment is complete, Strahla said they move on to the second patient. The hospital requires hourly checks on patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

“Every hour you need to lay eyes on the patient,” Strahla said. “We will ask them if they are in any pain, need to use the restroom and reposition them every two hours if they are sedated and can’t do it themselves.”

Strahla said she basically moves back and forth between two patients for the entire shift. On a regular floor, nurses would see five to six patients because they are less critical and nurses are able to check on them more often.

“There are days when I won’t get to sit down at all during a 12-hour shift, and I am just exhausted,” Strahla said.

Between Oct. 21, and Dec. 2, Strahla completed 180 critical care clinical hours for just one class, and that is not including classroom hours at USI.