A day in the life of an ITU Nurse

15 Dec 2020

Share with



Intensive Care Nursing (Unit) (ITU) is a specialist hospital-based nursing discipline providing treatment and monitoring for people who are extremely ill. ITUs are staffed with specially trained healthcare professionals and have sophisticated monitoring equipment.

Intensive care will be needed if someone is seriously ill and requires intensive treatment and close monitoring, or if they’re having surgery and intensive care can help them recover. But what’s it like to work in a specialist high-care unit? Well, we recently caught up with one of our specialist nurses, Anna Wallis de Garay and asked her what her life as an ITU nurse was really like working with an innovative and framework-approved organisation – ProMedical.

Why did you choose to become an ITU nurse?

Initially, I was a Renal Nurse, back then, we did dialysis on ITU patients so I spent a lot of time in the ITU environment, that’s what sparked the interest for me.

What is the training like – how long, what qualifications, etc.?

Training for the ITU speciality begins with learning on the job with a mentor to guide you. After this initially practical training, you can apply to gain a place on the ITU course run by universities with structured learning study days.

What qualities do you think an ITU nurse needs to have?

I would say an ITU Nurse needs:

  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Common Sense
  • Ability to act on your own initiative

How long have you been working in ITU?

I have been working in the ITU Department since 1987. I did take a couple of breaks where I studied Midwifery and five years when I worked as a nurse on cruise ships!

How long are you with ProMedical?

I have been working with ProMedical for two and a half years.

What is your career journey to date?

I spent two and a half years on night duty on various wards, eighteen months in nephrology, five years in ITU, eighteen months in Midwifery training, then back for another seven years in ITU, five years working on a cruise ship, and have been back in ITU since 2006!

What do you enjoy about locum work?

I love the freedom to choose what shifts I want to work that suits my lifestyle. The flexibility with locum working is great. Also, I enjoy working in different hospitals.

Do you find ProMedical helpful?

Yes, ProMedical are very helpful. I find ProMedical to be a very supportive organisation, and they are always on hand to sort out any problems quickly. They go above and beyond!

How do you handle the pressure as an ITU nurse?

A glass of red!! But not while on duty!!

COVID 19 – how did you cope with the stress of COVID at work?

I took some time off work which gave me the break I needed. Healthcare staff need to make time for themselves also, as it can be a challenging role.

What is your typical day like?

While no two shifts are the same, my main duties would involve, close observation of patients for deterioration in their condition, giving all nursing care as necessary, and of course paperwork!

What are the significant challenges ITU nurses face?

Staffing shortages and lack of resources (stock) especially at weekends can be challenging.

Which disciplines do you work with regularly? 

Anaesthetists, Medical and Surgical Doctors, Transport Coordinators, Radiographers along with many other disciplines. ITU Nursing is a varied role with a multidisciplinary team approach.

What is the future for ITU nursing, in your opinion?

ITU is getting busier all the time due to the ageing population.

What advice would you give someone starting in ITU?

My main piece of advice for the novice would be to get some general nursing experience first as this gives you a good grounding for ITU nursing.

Any other comments you would like to add?

I love working with ProMedical!

Check out all our nursing opportunities throughout the UK here


15 Dec 2020 | Leave a comment

Share with socials