Alumni in action

Two Buckeye nurses tell us what it's like to work in the ICU

Maddie Bruce, CCRN, learns every day

Maddie BruceI work in the Surgical ICU at The James Cancer Hospital. I would describe my job as challenging, heart-wrenching, and SO rewarding. As in any ICU, our patients are very complex, so we are dealing with ventilators, vasoactive drips, multisystem organ failure, post-op complications, etc ... and on top of all of the acute issues, their underlying cancer. The complexity is what really drew my interest to this type of nursing. Whether it be in multidisciplinary rounds, doing bedside procedures, participating in emergent situations, or asking other nurses and doing my own research, I know that I will never go a shift without learning something new and I LOVE that.

As numerous providers and allied health professionals shuffle in and out, we as nurses are there throughout the whole day helping to translate, reassure, and re-explain to the patient and/or family everything that is going on. These are some of the scariest, most stressful days of their lives, and it is an ongoing, rewarding challenge to do whatever I can to ease the strain even just a little.

Working in an Oncology ICU has taught me to celebrate small victories and see the silver linings in life. For example, sometimes cancer has taken over and we have no other options for treatment, but if we are able to get a patient stable enough to spend their last days in the comfort of their home surrounded by loved ones, instead of a hospital room, then that is a win. Being a part of these families' most intimate moments through life and death is truly an honor. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life.

Kate Best, CCRN, climbs high

Kate Best rock climbingI’m an ICU Float Pool Nurse at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. I float to all of the ICUs (MICU, SICU, CVICU, NCCU) and the ED! ICU nursing can be hectic and stressful, so it’s so important to have support systems, hobbies, and practice mindfulness and wellness. I go on lots of scenic hiking, camping, and climbing trips to balance it out! The stress of ICU nursing is greatly overshadowed by the rewarding nature of the job. The ability to help people on their worst days – not only through medical treatment, but also compassion – is so rewarding. In addition, there are infinite possibilities for professional growth and development within ICU nursing. I’ve gotten my CCRN certification, Clinical Ladder, serve on multiple shared governance councils, and I help teach staff. While I only graduated in 2015, I feel like I’ve gotten so many great experiences and accomplished so much. I’m excited to see where the coming years take me!