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.

surgical/burn/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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Kim Street, BSN, RN
Most days, Street serves as a charge nurse and thinks globally about how the unit is running and what each nurse is doing. That means she is always asking questions: Who are the sickest patients? Who is coming in? Who needs to move to another unit? What residents, fellows and attending physicians are on the floor? On the day we followed her, she was involved in patient care, which she says she loves to do. Street says she’s always wanted to be a nurse and has worked at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for about 14 years. She’s been a charge nurse for about seven of the 10 years that she’s been a member of the surgical, burn and trauma ICU team.


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 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 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.

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 their 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.

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 the patients under Street's 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.

Learn more about joining the Magnet-recognized nursing team at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

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Category: Trauma

About the Author ()

Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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