Intensive care patients require a wide range of skills to be cared for in their entirety, and require continuous monitoring day and night. This is why intensive care teams are so numerous. Depending on the department, there is usually one nurse for every two to three patients, and one orderly for every four to six patients. There are also many doctors, and they rotate more than in other departments because of the large number of on-call duties they have to perform: in fact, there is always a medical team present within the walls of the intensive care unit to deal with any eventuality.
Thehead of the department manages all the doctors you will meet in the department, and is responsible for the clinical activity and the major orientations of the department.
They coordinate and supervise the care activity of the department and often have a teaching function.
They are medical doctors: they coordinate the medical activity of the care units and are responsible for medical students (interns and externs). They are the ones, under the responsibility of the senior physicians, who set the daily therapeutic objectives for the patients in their unit.
Interns are doctors in the process of training and specialization. Very present in their units, “on the front line”, they will be important contacts for you. They are the ones who ensure continuous medical surveillance and carry out prescriptions under the direct responsibility of the head of clinic of their unit. They also provide continuity of care during night shifts, always supervised by a more experienced physician.
The care managers are generally nurses who have been trained to manage paramedical teams. They coordinate the paramedical human resources within the care services and guarantee the quality of care provided at the patient’s bedside.
Nurses and orderlies are permanently present in the units and rooms and provide care.
The nurses take turns 24 hours a day to look after the patients, and are assisted by the orderlies in their tasks, which consist mainly of :
They have a primary role in resuscitation. They work with patients on a daily basis to maintain joint flexibility and muscular strength in bedridden patients , including coma patients, by gently mobilizing limbs and using pedal machines. They evaluate and reinforce the patients’ muscular strength and respiratory autonomy on a daily or even multi-daily basis by promoting the work of the respiratory muscles in order to accelerate weaning from artificial respiration. They also actively participate in the stages of getting the patient up once he or she is awake: standing up, exercises at the edge of the bed, getting into the chair early…
They ensure that resuscitation patients receive nutritional intakes adapted to their condition . The quality and adequacy of nutritional intake is critical to the successful recovery of patients.
They are particularly important in intensive care because of the obligation of impeccable cleanliness in intensive care to limit as much as possible nosocomial infections in these particularly fragile patients.
They assess the needs in terms of social care and coordinate the exit trajectory.
They meet with patients and their loved ones to help them through the emotionally difficult stages of resuscitation.
In each department, the intensive care patient will meet young medical, nursing or physiotherapy students who participate in the surveillance while learning their trade. Their activity is strictly supervised by the team members.
They assist doctors in keeping and drafting hospital records, organize medical appointments, and carry out the many administrative tasks that enable the nursing team to concentrate on patient care.