The Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) is a 24-bed unit, staffed and equipped to provide comprehensive care for critically ill adult patients with medical disorders. Patients in the MICU are treated for clinical conditions such as respiratory failure, ARDS, GI bleeding, sepsis, hepatic failure, pancreatitis, multi-organ dysfunction, and hematologic, endocrine, or immunologic crises. The MICU staff is trained to manage patients requiring mechanical ventilation, vasoactive drug administration, and continuous renal replacement therapy.
The unit was built in 1999, with extensive staff input into the design process. The spacious private patient rooms provide adequate space for equipment, caregivers, and visitors or family members. Support space includes a lounge and locker room, conference room, family consultation room, staff "serenity room," waiting room equipped with TV and Internet access, pharmacy, respiratory therapy room, supply room, and procedure room.
The MICU team consists of approximately 100 employees. We work in constant collaboration with other members of the health care team, including pharmacy critical care specialists, respiratory therapists, dieticians, social workers and case managers, physical therapists, advanced practice nurses, the patient's attending and consulting physicians, and the critical care physician team. 24-hour physician coverage is provided by the MICU Intensivist Team and private intensivists.
The MICU vision, developed by the staff, is to create, nurture, and sustain a healthy work environment with a focus on the patient, in which staff members feel ownership of decisions and outcomes, and in which optimum outcomes are achieved.
Patient care is guided by several unit protocols that have been developed collaboratively by respiratory therapists, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. The current MICU protocols in place are: sliding scale insulin, insulin drip, electrolyte replacement, treatment of sepsis, and weaning from mechanical ventilation.
The MICU Steering Committee provides the MICU team with a means for active involvement in decisions affecting their practice. The council includes nurses, patient care assistants, and unit secretaries. Several priority projects are active at any given time. Current projects include: pressure ulcer prevention, hand hygiene, and implementation of enhancements in family support and communication.
New staff are supported by a structured orientation process guided by the unit Clinical Leader, the management team, and an assigned preceptor. Orientation includes both classroom time and guided clinical practice. Educational opportunities for all staff include unit-based inservices, clinical support from expert practitioners, classes, and continuing education.
The MICU provides a workplace with variety and challenge, creativity and participation, support and continuing professional growth.