Career Exploration Program


Intensive Care Unit RN

Patients who have completed surgery, come in from the ER or another hospital, and are stable, recover in the ICU.

Most all patients are intubated and taking “pressers,” or pharmaceuticals to assist with organ functionality making any emergency or decline in health a life or death matter.

All staff must be aware of the patients around them and be able to assist whenever necessary.


Registered nurses in the ICU monitor 2 patients at a time, a low ratio to allow for more individual and thorough care.

They must check in with each patient every hour, and make 4 full assessments each day to track the progression of the patient.

During these assessments they account for vital signs, medications, drips, surgical drains, insulin levels, urine output, and the visible health of the patient.

If a patient’s health changes or worsens, the nurse reports to the physician and treats the patient as discussed; administering pharmaceuticals, preparing them for labs, and discussing options with the family.

Most shifts are 12 hours long, 3 days a week.  


When moving patients or establishing an airway, the nurses work side by side with respiration therapists and other specialty areas depending on the patient. In addition to certified nursing assistants, they also are in contact with physical therapists, social workers, and almost everyone in the hospital due the variety in patient care.

Because of the severity of the situation, nurses sometimes care for the same patient until they are moved to another facility. 

Also, because of the intensive care required for each patient, doctors may ask the nurses for their opinion on the treatment plan.


Must graduate from an accredited school of nursing and hold current licensure to practice nursing in Oregon.

Required certifications include BLS/ACLS (Basic Life Support/Advanced Cardiac Life Support), TNCC (Trauma Nurse Core Classes), and hemodynamic credentialing.