Critical Care Nursing at UW Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics' critical care services reflect the institution's dedication to quality, state-of-the-art care. The hospital features southcentral Wisconsin's only Level I Trauma Center and provides comprehensive care to critically ill medical and surgical patients. Nurses who choose to pursue a career in critical care can do so in any of the following six areas:

Cardiothoracic Surgery Intensive Care Unit: The majority of patients in our unit are immediate post-surgical inpatients who have undergone coronary artery bypass, valve replacement (aortic, mitral, pulmonic), valve repair (aortic, pulmonic, tricuspid, mitral), thoracotomy for wedge resection, pneumonectomy, lobectomy, or esophagogastrectomy. In addition, our team treats transplant patients (heart, lung, or heart/lung) during all phases of treatment. Patients are generally admitted directly from the Operating Room or through the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, Emergency Room or directly from a hospital clinic. Some patients are transferred from a referring facility or from other units as patient condition warrants.

Trauma/Life Support Unit: The Trauma and Life Support Center (TLC) consists of an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals delivering comprehensive care for patients and families with complex medical, surgical or neurologic illnesses as well as severe traumatic injuries. Together with physicians, respiratory therapists and pharmacists, nurses utilize advanced technologies and therapies, leading-edge ventilatory management and provide sophisticated interventions to ensure optimal patient outcomes.

Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit: Nurses on this unit specialize in treating and managing patients with head and spinal cord injuries, central nervous system tumors, cerebral aneurysms, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Nurses are involved in comprehensive seizure evaluation and treatment as well as coordinating and evaluating the recovery of neurosurgical patients.

Cardiac Medical Intensive Care Unit: Nurses on this unit are dedicated to providing quality intensive care to critically ill cardiac and medical patients. Patients are likely to be individuals with myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, rhythm disturbances, pulmonary edema or cardiogenic shock. In addition, medical patients with sepsis, acute renal failure, hematologic disturbances and respiratory failure may be admitted to this unit. Primary nursing care is delivered with a mixture of technological expertise and a positive commitment to meeting patient and family needs.

Burn Unit: The regional Burn Unit provides care to patients of all ages with all types of burns. It offers a fine opportunity for nursing in caring for patients from the acute phase through rehabilitation and discharge planning to home. Nurses here are specifically trained in caring for burn patients. The nurse-to-patient ratio is determined by the severity and acuity of the patient's burn, allowing a one-to-one patient to nurse ratio when needed.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: Patients in this unit range from newborns to adolescents who have experienced major surgical procedures, head injuries, pulmonary diseases, cardiac anomalies and organ transplantation. Primary nurses, with a highly skilled and committed multidisciplinary team, provide family-centered care to critically ill or injured children.