A day in the life of a 44ICU nurse
It’s truly a team effort when it comes to providing the very best care for patients who are critically injured. We’re taking a look inside the daily lives of some of our trauma team members. Today, we’re following Kim Street, BSN, RN, a charge nurse in the surgical, burn and trauma ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
The surgical, burn and trauma ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, also called 44ICU, is among the largest of its kind in the country. The 36,200 square-foot unit opened in October 2012 and has the capacity to care for up to 36 patients, each with his or her own electronic-monitored room. Many of the innovations in the unit are designed to enhance patient care and accommodate families. Patients who are cared for in 44ICU can come from all areas of the hospital, but many started their journey in the Trauma Center. Providing care for these vulnerable patients requires a team made up of a wide variety of patient-care specialists, from surgeons to patient care techs, all working together with the patient’s best interest in mind. Nurses are vital members of this team that offers world-class care. We’d like you to meet one of them — Kim Street, BSN, RN.
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Street starts her 12-hour shift at 6:30 a.m. by visiting with team member Matt Marten, RN, to share information about the patients who will be under her care for the day. A bedside shift report and transitioning helps ensure patient care is seamless.
Street says no two days are ever the same. But one thing never changes: Every hour she completes three critical tasks. She checks her patients’ vitals, she records intake and output of fluids, and she retrieves and administers medications as needed.
Throughout the day, Street also documents every move or decision made in connection with a patient’s care.
Street also serves as the eyes and ears of her patients, talking about their treatment and condition with the ICU care team during the physician rounds, which take place once a shift. She says that because 44ICU cares for patients from all parts of the hospital—transplant, orthopedics, neurology, trauma, to name a few — teamwork is extremely important. For patients who have experienced major trauma, a multidisciplinary team collaborates to provide head-to-toe care.
On the day we followed Street, she spent time talking with John Kirby, MD, a Washington University trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, who is on the unit to check on one of his patients.
In addition to being a caregiver, Street acts as a communicator with patients’ families. At any time of day, she can get a call to help translate information or provide an update on a loved one’s condition.
Multitasking defines what Street does. Whether she’s checking the function of a patient’s legs, preparing to change bandages or documenting an action, Street must also stay one step ahead, anticipating what could happen and how she can work to circumvent any issues.
For Street and the 44ICU team, their work is about providing the best patient care and experience possible. Though Street hopes her patients won’t remember their stay in 44ICU, she knows the treatment her team provides is the starting point of their journey toward recovery.