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Critical Care Week: teamwork in the ICU


Some of the ICU team members at Richmond Hospital

Talk to anyone in Richmond's Intensive Care Unit about why they enjoy their work so much and a resounding theme of 'teamwork' shines through every time. From the housekeeping staff, pharmacist, and ICU nurses, to the intensivists, physiotherapist, and social workers—everyone works together to help give some of our most vulnerable patients a fighting chance at life.

In celebration of Critical Care Week, we're taking a look at one of the units at Richmond Hospital that provide Critical Care services to our patients—our Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Caring for the sickest of the sick

Narinder Sandhu, clinical resource nurse, has been working in Vancouver Coastal Health ICU's over 20 years—the past 14 of which have been spent in leadership and education in Richmond and VGH.

“One of the great things about critical care is that as a nurse you are now going into the next level of the nursing process," she says. “A critical care nurse has to be independent in their practice and be able to make clinical decision based on the assessment of their patient. They're anticipators verses reactors and are able to pick up early warning signs, so they can intervene appropriately and meet the needs of their critically ill patient."

And while Richmond is considered one of the smaller ICU's within Vancouver Coastal Health, Narinder says there's no doubt our patients are receiving exceptional care.

“We use a holistic approach to our care here in the ICU. Yes, we have very sick patients we're looking after, but it's not just about the sick patient in the bed, it's about the family and how can we support them through this difficult time."

Working as a team

Chris Bisaillion has been working at Richmond Hospital for 15 years—the last two spent as part of the critical care nursing team in the ICU—and is constantly motivated and inspired by the work they do.

“I love the level of acuity that we see and the different skill sets required to take care of our patients," he says. “The people up here are top notch—the cohesiveness, the teamwork—what I do is directly linked to every other team member and we work together to get the best outcomes for our patients."

For Heidi O'Callaghan, it's being able to support a patient's wishes in the ICU that really stands out. “From seeing someone walk out of their room for the first time when the week before we weren't sure they were going to make it to supporting a patient's wish to change their goals of care to palliative rather than curative—the work we do really makes a difference," she says.

Richmond ICU nurses also make a difference by providing critical care outreach throughout the hospital – providing ICU services beyond the walls of the ICU — supporting other hospital staff when they have a patient whose condition is deteriorating.

“It's an ongoing feeling of gratitude to have such great people doing a job they love," says Narinder. “Their commitment to making a difference in peoples' lives makes our team phenomenal. Everyone truly works together to give the best care we can."

SOURCE: Critical Care Week: teamwork in the ICU ( )
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