top of page

What does

an Australian Intensive Care Nurse do?

Patient with Healthcare Nurse
Monitoring of mechanically ventilated pa

1. Cares for the sickest of the sick.

2. Cares for every patient who needs critical care no matter what speciality of medicine they come under in the hospital, whereas ward nurses tend to have one speciality, such as cardiology, or orthopaedics, or trauma.

3. Running and tweaking the ICU technical machinery according to assessments and tests like blood gases. Machines include ventilators, intra-aortic balloon pumps, haemodialysis filters, monitors, defibrillators, nitric oxide, pacemakers.

4. Manages the invasive lines from (breathing tubes) endotracheal tubes and tracheostomies, to central venous catheters for drug infusions, arterial lines for blood pressure monitoring, to drain tubes for every orifice and surgical site—including the brain for drainage and also pressure monitoring.

5. Advanced life support: more than just CPR, but giving and knowing the in's and out's of the drugs and defibrillators and airway management.

6. Haemodynamic monitoring (blood pressure waveforms, heart pressures etc), constant electrocardiogram (ECG-reading heart rhythms) monitoring and interpretation, constant neurological assessments, and basic assessments of the patients.

7. Interacts and supports the patients and families with varying levels of medical literacy and socioeconomic demographics,  in the most extremes of emotions. Due to fear, distress or pain at seeing their loved one's condition, which is not always within acceptable expressions of grief, but aggression and violence. And patients are often delirious and confused if conscious and requiring constant reorientation or challenging in their own manner.

8. Are at the bedside constantly, having the most direct and constant patient contact of any health profession. Therefore, they are the eyes and ears of the doctors.

9. Bearswith  the moral distress of conflicting ethical decisions regarding prolonging the inevitable, when a patient's condition is obviously unsurvivable and their life support is futile, but withdrawal is not smooth due to family medical illiteracy and medical politics.

10. Runs the ICU, acting as different levels of management such as the top, nurse unit manager, to outreach roles on the emergency code blue teams, to supporting the next generation of ICU nurses, as educators.

Back to News/About

bottom of page