Day in the Life of a Barrow Neuro-ICU Nurse: Kimberly Reedy

Hi, I’m Kimberly Reedy, a stroke certified registered nurse at Barrow Neurological Institute. I’m excited to take you through a day as a bedside nurse in our Neuro-Intensive Care Unit, where I’ve worked for 5.5 years.

I arrive at 0700 and huddle up with my unit.This is where the day shift team will meet up with the charge nurse, our unit supervisor, and the occasional educator for updates regarding the unit and anything we should be aware of or educated on before we start our shift.

Then it’s time for the handoff, when I touch base with the nurse who cared for my patients throughout the night. We discuss each patient’s history, what brought them to the hospital, what’s happened so far, a full head-to-toe assessment, and what needs to happen next.

After getting up to speed, I round on my patients to introduce myself, assess them, and complete a bedside report with the night shift RN.

Keeping track of outputs on drains and catheters can be a tedious task. Sometimes we utilize the dry erase markers on the windows to keep track and access later when charting.

Here I am getting my first detailed assessment for the day. Brains and spines are our specialty, but all organs are vital. Knowing every inch of your patient helps with recognizing changes early and providing optimal care.

Getting to know my patients is one of the best parts of my job. It also helps me to assess them and understand how alert and oriented they are. This is also a time where I like to educate them and prepare them for what to expect for the day and answer any questions they may have.

Getting to interact with a patient’s family is always a bonus. They are necessary advocates and components to the patient’s ongoing success during and after their time in the Neuro-ICU. 

When I’m not at the bedside, there’s a good chance you’ll find me charting. Keeping thorough and accurate notes is essential to each patient’s care. This is also when I get a chance to interact with my coworkers.

I usually take a minimal lunch break, just enough time to heat up my food and eat it. I dedicate personal time to meal-prep so that I can eat healthy and stay adequately fueled while at work.

This is Nurse Nina, our Barrow mascot. You’ll find her all over the unit; she’s very festive and always dresses accordingly for holidays and events. Here she is in her standard professional attire getting ready to join me for lunch.

After a quick lunch, I’m back to taking care of my patients. Repositioning every couple of hours is best practice. I also return the favor and help my buddies reposition their patients as well.

Getting to hear a patient’s voice for the first time after removing their breathing tubes is always a treasure. This is also when more detailed assessments can be performed now that they can verbalize their responses, as opposed to just nodding yes or no. Here, I am also re-securing the feeding tube until I know my patient can swallow efficiently on their own.

Delivering excellent patient care is a team approach. Here, I am reviewing a patient’s EKG with a critical care physician.

I absolutely love my job, my patients, my coworkers, and the entire Barrow team. I thrive in this environment caring for the patients and being a part of their journeys through some of their toughest moments and greatest triumphs. I also enjoy laughing and being silly with my comrades every chance I get. I am 10 years into my career as a nurse, and I am excited for many, many more.