I currently work at the University of California Los Angeles Ronald Reagan Hospital in the liver transplant intensive care unit (ICU). I have been working here for 1 year and 3 months, after a 3 month orientation. We have 24 beds and take care of patients before, during and after their liver/kidney transplants. Since we are an ICU, we also accept patients from the medical, cardiothoracic and neurological ICUs when space is needed.
A typical patient requires a liver transplant because of cryptogenic or alcoholic cirrhosis, hepatitis, drug abuse, fulminant (suicide attempt), or liver failure from various drugs (for example- birth control, “weight loss” supplements, etc). Many of our patients are continuously bleeding due to loss of clotting factors, have chest tubes, are ventilator dependent, on continuous blood pressure drips (along with a plethora of other drips), sedated, on continuous dialysis machines (which we manage ourselves), arterial lines, PA catheters, etc. Pretty exciting stuff! Liver ICU patients vary; some get extubated the day after surgery and some patients stay with us for many months (we have a patient who has been in the ICU here with us for 508 days now!).
I am so thankful for the opportunities that KILN afforded me- conferences, networking, alumni panel, exposure to the different areas of nursing along with great mentorship and scholarship. These experiences gave me confidence and showed me that nursing is not only a job, but a lifelong career with vast opportunities. Even though I have a year of experience under my belt, I am learning more every single day on how to improve my nursing practice. Being a new grad can be very intimidating but PLEASE do not be afraid to ask questions, no matter how dumb you think they are because remember everyone was once a new grad! No one was born a nurse 🙂
Also remember to take care of yourself! It is very important to maintain good physical and mental health (you want to do your best to avoid burnout…) If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Have a great school year 🙂