For the past year and seven months, I have been working as a registered nurse on St. Luke’s Progressive Care Unit (PCU). For the most part I work dayshift but have also explored what nightshift life is like! Working in a critical care area has allowed me to strengthen and build upon my basic nursing skill set, while laying the foundation to continue on as a nurse practitioner.
In the PCU, one never knows what a twelve hour shift brings. My time in the PCU has given me the opportunity to see health issues across the medical spectrum. On a daily basis I have dealt with multiple pharmacological drips, ventilators, tube feeds, surgical sites, psychological matters and more. Being BLS, ACLS, ENLS, and Stroke/NIH certified, every other month we respond to rapid responses throughout the hospital.
These create an environment for quick assessment, judgement, critical thinking, and implementing of treatment. Managing various patients with multiple medical comorbidities, has built a strong groundwork for myself, as I continue into graduate school and then on into the professional world as a nurse practitioner.
Expanding my knowledge in the nursing profession has always been a main priority. My plan is to continue to work as a registered nurse at PCU, while working towards my Masters’. As it becomes time for clinical experiences to be incorporated in course work, I plan to decrease the amount of hours I work as a staff registered nurse, as already discussed with my nurse manager and colleagues. With time management, focused organization, and determination, much can be accomplished.
One significant modern day issue in the United States healthcare system is the advancement in medical technologies and how this growth creates ethical dilemmas regarding end-of-life care. Frequently, this issue is seen on the PCU in my day to day work. Families and patients struggle between longevity of life versus quality of life. Our ethical issue, as healthcare professionals, is balancing the act of respecting one’s autonomy in decision-making, and being able to carry out our duties without causing harm (Karnik & Kanekar, 2016).
As future nurse practitioners, we can help address this issue by providing detailed information about advance directives. We can better educate the public on the benefits versus risks of treatment. As frontline healthcare providers, through communication, we can help bridge the gap, regarding goals and treatment of care, between patients, their families, and physicians (Karnik & Kanekar, 2016).
In applying for graduate study as a nurse practitioner, I am enthusiastic about taking the step towards reaching my dream and broadening my horizons in the career field.