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UCLA Department of Nursing


Critical Care

In the most critical times, greatness is defined.

Critical Care nurses are there for patients in their most difficult times. It takes strength, compassion and a desire to learn, not just about the field, but about one's self. The UCLA Health System offers several ICU settings for nursing. Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center allows our nurses to focus on one particular specialty, while Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic Hospital provides the chance to care for a wide variety of patients in their ICU.


Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Cardiothoracic Surgical Unit

This highly complex unit provides care to patients with the diagnoses of complex cardiac congenital disease, coronary artery disease, valvular disease and cardiomyopathy, along with multiple lung diseases. Patients may require 1:2, 1:1, or 2:1 nursing care. In this unit, patients may undergo Heart, Lung, and Heart-Lung Transplantation, CABG, Valve Repair or replacements, Aortic Aneurysm repair, and congenital repairs. The unit is the primary ICU for post-operative Thoracic Surgery ICU patients. Patients can require continuous cardiac monitoring, hemodynamic monitoring, titration of vasoactive and vasodilator medications, mechanical ventilation, nitric oxide, flolan, suctioning, hemodialysis, frequent nursing and ancillary service intervention, and other specialized equipment and/or procedures.

Coronary Care Unit

In this technically advanced cardiac unit, the patient population includes a variety of complex cardiac diagnosis requiring intensive care. Ailments such as acute coronary syndrome, unstable angina, acute myocardial infarction, dilated or restrictive Cardiomyopathy for possible transplant. Responsibilities also include transplant evaluation and unloading therapy, arrhythmia treatment, and cardiac pretransplantation and postransplantation care. UCLA is a certified center for Left Ventricular Assistant Device (LVAD) destination therapy and nurses in this unit are proficient in managing this treatment.

Medical ICU

The 24-bed Medical Intensive Care Unit includes adult and geriatric patients who have a broad spectrum of complex medical diagnoses. These may include acute and chronic respiratory failure, sepsis, liver failure, renal failure, multi-system organ failure, pulmonary hypertension, diabetic ketoacidosis, drug overdose, oncologic critical care diagnoses, stroke, acute myocardial infarct, status post cardiac or respiratory arrest, status post solid or hematologic transplant rejection or immunologic compromise. MICU patients are 1:1 or 1:2 patient care and are co-managed by medical intensivists with pulmonary and critical care expertise. Patients may require intubation, mechanical ventilation, hemodynamic monitoring, hemodialysis/Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy, titration of vasoactive medications, tracheostomies, cardioversion, defibrillation, sedation, chemotherapy, Interleukin 2 immunotherapy, and Flolan/Remodulin management.

NeuroTrauma ICU

As an AACN Beacon Award winner in 2010, this unit delivers exemplary and highly complex care to patients and families who have encountered extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Nurses learn to care for patients who have experienced elective craniotomies, brain hemorrhages, strokes, status epilepticus, neuromuscular disorders, head injury, multiple trauma, spinal cord injury, and emergency surgery. Types of monitoring/interventions include ICP monitoring, CVVH, Licox brain oxygen monitoring, internal body cooling devices, continuous EEG monitoring, Nitric Oxide treatment, and pre-op and post-op complex surgical care. Care of the organ donor patient is also included.

Transplant ICU

A unique unit that cares for a variety of diagnosis, primarily transplant, surgical, and medical diagnoses. Patients may require 1:1, 1:2, or 2:1 nursing care. The unit includes 70% liver transplant and other specialty transplants such as renal transplant, pancreas transplant, and small bowel transplant. Other surgical patients include head and neck, vascular, plastic, general and bariatric surgery. Patients require continuous cardiac monitoring, frequent intervention, hemodynamic monitoring, CVVH, vasopressor titration, mechanical ventilator support, and various types of central lines. 


Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital

Medical/Surgical Adult ICU

This unit provides an array of complex ICU care to critical care patients who are admitted from the emergency room, direct admissions from medical offices, inter-facility transfers, as well as from intradepartmental transfers, including the PACU, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Operating Room, Oncology, Telemetry and General Medical-Surgical units within the hospital. Procedures may include continuous ECG monitoring, invasive hemodynamic monitoring, ventilator support, hemodialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy, Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump therapy, epicardial/transvenous/transcutaneous pacing, and thoracentesis



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