Nursing is a flexible profession. It allows a nurse to experience a multitude of specializations and areas of expertise. Hospital Nursing is a type of Nursing that caters to clients admitted in the hospitals or so-called medical centers. Tertiary hospitals are medical centers equipped with a complete and complex laboratory, diagnostic, and treatment equipment, machines, and modalities. Tertiary hospitals often have a bed capacity of more than 100 and they are where all types of major diseases are treated. Hospital nursing is complex as different areas are found inside the building.
A surreal issue has plagued hospital nursing for many years and a lot of nurses know about it: Is there really a “superior” nursing area in the hospital? Are Intensive Care Unit nurses really better than all the other nurses in other areas? Are Emergency Room nurses more skilled in triage and Intravenous therapy than Ward nurses? Are Operating Room nurses really stagnant when it comes to theory? Are Ward Nurses really more flexible and are better time managers than Intensive Care Unit nurses? There is an issue here at hand and more often than not, nurses at particular units would often think that they are better nurses than the others. Is this really a fact? Here is a brief background of the nurses in these 4 major areas of hospital nursing. Compare them and see if one really stands out.
Intensive Care Unit Nurses: “We are the BEST, period!”
Data: ICU nurses deal with the most complex of clients attached to many IVs, catheters and all the equipment and monitors needed to manage clients. ICU nurses deal with direct primary client care and render all the attention and care they can to only one, or a maximum of two clients. Often, their station is situated inside the ICU and it is very near the clients for immediate intervention when needed. Clients on monitors have their status logged on a central computer at the station so nurses can monitor them efficiently. ICU nurses often have additional credentials needed for them: Critical Care Nursing, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Intravenous Therapy, and Basic Electrocardiography. These nurses are equipped with proper training and theoretical backgrounds that will enable them to deal with every patient they handle.
Ward nurses would go: “They only handle one client! They do not receive complaints like us! We have numerous clients and we handle them all, without mistakes. We know what they know. Place them in the wards, remove the monitors and let us see”
OR nurses would go: “We can do that they do. It is just a little blood and a little machines. Do they know how to handle clients being sliced? Do they know all the instruments?”
ER nurses would go: “It is just a combination of a little CPR, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Triage, nothing new to us. Yawn!”
Operating Room Nurses: “Opening people safely, literally”
Data: Operating Room Nurses deal with aberrations inside the operating room. An OR nurse has the responsibility to assist the surgeon with the operation upon scrubbing, while the circulating nurse has the responsibility to ensure the client, as well as environmental safety. These nurses deal with complications that arise from surgery; and the management of such (e.g. massive bleeding) should be addressed. More often than not, other nurses do not see these things. OR nursing is more than just passing instruments. There is also this need to monitor clients in the Recover Room for complications that arise from surgery. These RR clients are near death and the most unexpected complications may occur. OR nurses are vested with knowledge and skills to manage these.
Ward nurses would go: “We can learn those instruments easily. Place them in the wards and let us see is they can handle our clients and all their doctors and complaints”
ICU nurses would go: “Is there anything more challenging than memorizing instruments and clients near-death? I have handled clients way worse than those in there”
ER nurses would go: “Instruments + Emergency management at the recovery room? Yawn again!”
Emergency Room Nurses: “Always ready: Bring it on!”
Data: ER nurses are triage experts. They know which patients should be attended to first and they know exactly what to do in the most emergent of cases. These nurses deal with life and death as it is, upfront. They are vested with the skills and knowledge to do fast intravenous therapy, defibrillation, and other necessary steps in an emergent situation. These are fast nurses who deal with clients exhibiting unknown diagnoses. More often than not, they are exposed to diseases first without even knowing what they are treating. All they ensure is client survival.
Ward nurses would go: “They only deal with emergencies and follow doctor’s orders. We can do that too! We are RNs. We have training in emergency nursing and CPR. No big deal.”
OR nurses would go: “Triage? Oh please, tell that to me when I am in the recovery room with a hypotensive client, one with an evisceration, and one who is restless and is vomiting blood”
ICU nurses would go: “Vested with CPR, Advanced Cardiac Support skills, critical care nursing, now tell me, can’t I not handle an emergency? Bring it on!”
Data: Ward nurses deal with varying cases of multiple clients admitted at different rooms. These nurses are vested with IV therapy skills, basic life support training, and all the other nursing skills required in emergent situations. Nurses at the wards provide primary care to a great number of clients. They worry not only about their clients, but also the different significant others that accompany them, and all the different doctors for each of their clients. When a doctor makes his rounds, the ward nurse must be able to update the doctor with his patient’s condition; no excuses. Ward nurses deal with all the complaints of clients, from the TV signal and the leaking bathroom ceilings. They are typically your to-go nurse and they have to deal with these complaints every day even if they is not in their duties anymore. Ward nurses are equipped with skills in CPR and the use this should any of their numerous clients experience arrest.
ER nurses would go: “They only deal with the basics. They are not even that skilled in inserting IVs. They call me to do that!”
OR nurses would go: “They do everything basic. Place them in here and let’s see if they do not get instruments thrown right at them”
ICU nurses would go: “Again, I am vested with CPR, Advanced Cardiac Support skills, critical care nursing. Nothing much needs to be said”
Reading this article, do you think that there is really a superior nursing area? Remember, we are all licensed nurses holding the same professional license given to us by our licensing bodies. We are all professionals who studied the same, who have gone through the same CPR, Intravenous therapy, and other training offered to us. They say nurses are flexible. Do you agree? Is there a professional pride in the different nursing areas? Or should we set aside differences and work together with the common goal of providing compassionate client care? We are a team; always remember that.