Every day all the nurses for that shift receive a full handover of all the patients on the unit. Each nurse is then allocated a particular patient to look after. We currently work twelve and a half hour shifts in ITU or HDU.

The nurse will then receive another handover from the nurse at the bedside on the outgoing shift. This is very detailed and will cover why the patient was admitted, all the organ systems that the patient needs support with, current drugs, personal care, family contacts and updates and any planned interventions for that day. These interventions may include, returning to theatre, having lines inserted, chest x-rays, MRI scans and other transfers, all of which take time to plan safely.

Hour by hour the nurse at the bedside will record all the observations via the electronic data collection system and validate them. The nurse will check and draw up all the drugs required by the patient and prepare infusions, this takes some time in ICU as the patients need a lot of intra venous medication.

The nurses take great pride in delivering the personal care to the patients, particularly those who need all care and assisting those who are making progress and moving forward.

The nurses will try and orientate the patients to where they are and what has happened as many patients have memory lapses having been admitted to ICU. Many patients are also confused and patience is required to talk them through any fears that they may have.

Whatever interventions happen during the day to the patient, everything is documented on the electronic system including any updates given to families as this is very important in terms of the messages we are giving.