MICU in the spotlight

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that throughout 2022, the UI Health Care publication The Loop has regularly featured members of the team working in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). Despite a decrease in the near-daily attention the MICU justifiably received at the height of the pandemic, we know that its members continue to care for some of the most acute and complex patients, including those with COVID-19. We are grateful that the members of this extraordinary team have continued to be celebrated for their dedication, teamwork, and resourcefulness.

Jacob Breitbach celebrates teamwork, successes in the MICU
(17 August)
Jacob Breitbach, MPAS, PA-C, says that treating patients in the ICU is a team effort. “There’s no one person that’s going to make this patient better—we have to all rely on each other.” He also relies on his team for stress management. “In good or bad situations, we can look to our teammates for support in any scenario. We can celebrate our successes together and help each other cope through the tough times.”

How a MICU clerk got creative to support her unit
(27 July)
Not only does this story show how unit clerk (and notary public!) Blanche Coopé helped provide patients with essential services within necessarily restrictive environments, there is also a lively comment thread that shows how much her colleagues value her. Coopé takes pride in knowing how to put patients first, even in the hardest of moments.

Embracing change: Marcus Barlow thrives in critical care settings
(26 July)
Marcus Barlow, MPAS, MPH, PA-C, isn’t afraid of change. In fact, he sees change as something to be embraced. It’s why he came to work as a physician assistant in the MICU. He’s thankful for the MICU’s commitment to evidence-based care, derived from robust evidence from well-designed research, patient concerns and preferences, and clinical expertise.
(For more of Barlow’s journey to the MICU, read our February 2018 profile.)

‘You can’t do it alone’: An APP’s mindset in the MICU
(3 June)
After six years as an APP in the MICU, Rachel Stadlen, DNP, ARNP, says she still feels grateful to work there. And that an effective team requires openness. Trust, she says, is built upon frequent communication, whether it’s among the providers or their patients. “It’s important to be present every day, asking how we can support them, not only the patient, but also their families,” Stadlen says. “It’s very helpful to build rapport.” 

‘A sense of accomplishment’: Elizabeth Hynek is learning from her experiences in the MICU
(27 May)
More than a decade after the start of her career in the MICU, Elizabeth Hynek, MSN, ARNP, says she still has a lot to learn from it. The unit takes care of a broad patient population, and she doesn’t feel like she’ll ever know it all, Hynek says. “Medicine is changing all the time,” she says. “My confidence grows a little bit every day and I can make decisions on more complex cases…There is a lot to learn, and there always will be a lot to learn—every day.”

Katy Bassett: What the pandemic has taught one MICU nurse so far
(5 April)
Staff nurse Katy Bassett, RN, splits her time between the MICU and the ECMO team. “The career opportunities here are endless. You can transfer to other units. You can always jump into stuff,” Bassett says. “I mean, if you really want to do something else, all you have to do is ask.”

Photos: Rounding in the MICU
(11 March)
UI Health Care’s photography team recently spent an afternoon shadowing providers during rounds, the time when the MICU team reviews patients’ statuses and care plans. The images captured show the intense level of collaboration among faculty, staff, and students in the MICU.

40 years of critical care: One respiratory therapist’s experience in the MICU
(5 January)
Lynn Mellecker, the senior respiratory therapist in the MICU, has watched the evolution of the organization. She’s seen a lot of changes in terms of facilities, people, and the methods in which we deliver care to patients. “It’s amazing in 40 years how much medicine has changed.” It’s the focus on innovation that puts things into perspective for Mellecker. And when it comes to what UI Health Care means to patients as a leader in medical innovation, Mellecker doesn’t hesitate to place her trust in the hands of her colleagues.

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