Overview of NSW Health and the Intensive Care Unit
NSW Health works to provide the people of NSW with the best possible healthcare. NSW Health comprises Area Health Services, statutory health corporations and affiliated health organisations. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the St George Hospital, Kogarah is a 15 bed unit, and one of three major trauma centres within the Sydney health system.
Why did you join the department and what is your role?
Throughout my childhood, I always tried to look after people, but it wasn’t until I was in year 11 that my dad told me I would make a great nurse. I decided to go to university and become a registered nurse in the public hospital system as I felt that the public system provided a greater range of learning opportunities. My role as a registered nurse in an intensive care unit is to care for critically ill patients, and their families. I look after patients that may have experienced major trauma, such as car accidents, after major surgery or those that deteriorate within the hospital and require transfer for intensive 1:1 nursing.
What is the best part of your job?
The best of the job is going home at the end of the day knowing that you have helped someone get better and get home to their loved ones. It’s only a little word, but being truly thanked by someone whom you have helped save their life, or one of their family members, is an amazing and humbling thing. There is also wonderful sense of solidarity and teamwork, especially within a closed unit such as an ICU.
What skills are important in a Registered Nurse?
All nurses require excellent communication skills, not only to communicate with patients, but with doctors and other members of a multidisciplinary team.
Within a hospital, and especially within an intensive care unit, everyday is different, and things can change in a second. Nurses need to be able to think and act quickly if the situation requires it. Empathy, dedication and a caring and positive attitude are also important and what I believe to be essential in the makings of a great Registered Nurse.
Describe an average day:
I work a 12hr roster, so I either work a day or night shift. On the majority of occasions, I look after patients on a 1:1 ratio, so my day is usually dedicated to one person. No one day is ever same, which is one of the great things about nursing.
A typical day may consist of taking patients to CT scan, which for a patient that is usually on a ventilator and constantly monitored, is like taking a whole intensive care across a hospital.
What career path does a registered nurse offer?
The great thing about nursing is that there are so many different paths that you can follow throughout a career. Once experienced, a nurse can move into an educational role, or into research in order to continually improve current nursing practice. Another career pathway open to nurses is that of management, whether it be on a ward on a on a higher scale. I would definitely recommend nursing as a career for anyone that likes a challenge, and likes to be on the move.
Find out more about working for NSW Health.