Nursing Careers | Harborview Medical Center

At Harborview Medical Center, the philosophy of nursing followed by our more than 1,700 nurses is embodied by our professional practice model — developed by and for Harborview nurses. Our professional practice model includes the essential domains of Harborview Medical Center’s nursing practice outlined below. All domains encircle the patient and family, who are at the center of all that we do.

  • Culture of inquiry: improving care through active questioning of current practice.
  • Exemplary professional practice: providing compassionate, quality care is the heart of our practice.
  • Leadership: leading at every level.
  • Professional development: fostering professional growth to facilitate expertise.

As a trauma center, teaching organization and safety-net provider, Harborview serves a diverse population with dynamic needs. All Harborview nurses are committed to exceeding the boundaries of conventional healthcare for every patient and family. We believe in building compassionate, respectful relationships with patients in an evidence-based environment, in partnership with our interdisciplinary teams.

We believe that promoting respect and support for ourselves and colleagues enhances patient outcomes. Harborview nurses contribute to the education of students and other health professionals through teaching, role modeling, and creating and maintaining an environment conducive to quality patient care and quality learning experiences.

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Emergency services: In the foremost Level 1 trauma center in the Pacific Northwest, nurses provide the most advanced emergency care. More than 80,000 patients are seen annually, and the Emergency Department is a referral center for individuals experiencing trauma, burns, sexual assault, complex medical and surgical problems, and a variety of mental illnesses.

Emergency Department East provides the opportunity to work with patients with less acute conditions, including patients needing telemetry services, experiencing medical/surgical conditions and those on observation or inpatient status.

Psychiatric emergency services: Centered in the Emergency Department, this unit provides clinical oversight and is open at all times. The unit contains 10 beds in private rooms and is staffed by registered nurses (RNs), advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), resident psychiatrists, social workers, medical assistants and attending psychiatrists.

Operating room: A wide variety of elective and trauma surgeries are performed 24/7 in our operating rooms. The skills of the most highly experienced and educated perioperative nurses are regularly challenged and learning opportunities abound.

Post-anesthesia recovery: Nurses in this unit provide around-the-clock preoperative preparation and postoperative monitoring and care to all patients receiving surgery.

Ambulatory surgery: Nurses in this 13-bed unit work with pre-anesthesia coordinators to prepare patients for day surgery or day-of-surgery admissions.

Community CareLine: Using computerized protocols, telephone triage nurses provide medical advice and direction to consumers and managed care subscribers.

Additional specialty areas: Additional specialty areas include endoscopy, radiology and gamma knife services.

Trauma surgery intensive care unit (TSICU): Nurses care for patients with multi-system traumatic injuries. Patient management presents challenges in respiratory, thoracic, neurologic and orthopedic care. Nurses are involved in a variety of innovative research projects. They provide critical care management to multi-service adult and adolescent patients. The care for patients ranges in a variety of medical and surgical diagnoses and trauma injuries. Nurses are also involved in a variety of unit-based and hospital-wide projects, including research projects.

Medical cardiac intensive care unit (MCICU): Nurses in this unit care for patients with a variety of medical diagnoses (gastrointestinal bleeding, acute respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure, near-drowning, sepsis and seizures). Working in the home base of Seattle's Medic One for direct-admit patients with ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation, cardiac intensive care unit nurses also care for patients with medical, trauma, surgical and neurosurgical disorders.

Neurosurgical intensive care unit (NICU): Serving both adult and pediatric victims of severe head and spinal cord injury, this unit has a growing elective neurosurgery patient population. Advanced techniques and neuroradiology and neurosurgery provide unique challenges to critical care nurses practicing advanced skills in neurological assessment.

Burn intensive care unit (BICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU): As a multi-specialty intensive care unit, the nursing staff has the opportunity to care for adult and pediatric patients with complicated trauma, pulmonary, neurologic, orthopedic and other medical conditions. The burn intensive care unit (BICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) staff participate in a variety of research projects throughout the hospital and are encouraged to develop projects on their own.

Intensive care unit holding: Intensive care unit holding cares for critical care overflow patients. ICU Holding RNs have the opportunity to experience caring for multi-service critical care patients with a variety of medical and surgical diagnoses and traumatic injuries.

Critical care float pool (CCFP): The critical care float pool staff have the opportunity to experience caring for multi-service critical care patients with a variety of medical and surgical diagnoses and traumatic injuries. The critical care float pool staff are a resource for all the intensive care units and the Emergency Department.

Nurses working in these units provide care to more than half of Harborview's patients. Many are admitted directly from the Emergency Department. Others are transferred from the critical care units. As most have multi-system involvement, all units provide an excellent opportunity to develop advanced medical and surgical skills while focusing on a specific area of nursing practice.

Medicine/telemetry: Nurses working in these units specialize in providing care to patients experiencing cardiac disease and trauma, infectious disease and renal disease dialysis. Patients are experiencing complex multi-system disease/trauma. Patients with medical, orthopedic, surgical or neurological conditions are admitted to this unit and require interdisciplinary care.

Medical/surgical/telemetry: The medical surgical telemetry unit provides acute care for diverse medical/surgical patients who are acutely ill or injured and in varying stages of recuperation from diagnostic, therapeutic or surgical interventions. Patients with respiratory, medical or surgical diagnoses who require telemetry monitoring are admitted to this unit.

Medicine and senior care: For the elderly recovering from debilitating illness or injury, the senior care service provides specialized intervention and is a model for interdisciplinary geriatric care.

Neurosciences (neurology and neurosurgery): This fast-paced and dynamic unit provides care to adult and adolescent patients with acute and chronic conditions and injuries to the brain and spinal cord. As one of Harborview's centers of emphasis, the neuroscience unit nurses participate in state-of-the-art treatments, nursing practice and research with this challenging patient population.

Trauma/orthopedics: Nurses in these units care for individuals who have been referred for a variety of orthopedic procedures, some resulting from traumatic injury.

Burn/plastics/pediatrics: Nurses care for adult and pediatric patients with burns, burn reconstruction, plastic surgery and large wounds.

Epilepsy: This unit is internationally recognized for its research in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of adult and pediatric patients having seizure disorders not amenable to conventional medication therapy. Nurses develop skills in assessing the EEG-monitored patient.

Trauma rehabilitation medicine unit: Nurses in this unit are an integral component in this nationally recognized trauma rehabilitation unit's interprofessional team. A primary nursing model and an emphasis on maximizing the patient's full potential for independent living are key elements in the care delivery model. Common diagnoses include: brain injury, spinal cord injury (including patients on ventilators), stroke, burns and various musculoskeletal disorders.

Trauma/general surgery: This unit is designated as the dynamic, optimal setting where adult, geriatric and adolescent trauma, general surgical and vascular surgery patients receive the highest possible delivery of nursing care.

Limited stay unit: This unit cares for patients who require monitoring for pre- and post-diagnostic procedures and also provides care and treatment for outpatient chemotherapy and infusion patients. The limited stay unit supports the outpatient clinics, diagnostic radiology and cardiology, and the Emergency Department.

Acute care float pool (ACFP): The acute care float pool staff have the opportunity to experience caring for patients with a variety of medical and surgical diagnoses and traumatic injuries. The ACFP staff are a resource for all of the medical and surgical units, as well as patients in overflow areas.

Harborview has three inpatient psychiatry units. All use a strong interdisciplinary team model for planning and delivering patient care and each supports the University of Washington in education, research and community service.

Psychiatric intensive evaluation: Nurses on this locked intensive care unit provide short-term interdisciplinary treatment for acutely ill psychiatric patients.

Voluntary psychiatry: Emphasis in this unit is on crisis intervention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and coexisting chemical dependency and other behavioral problems. The open-door design allows nurses to assist patients having sufficient internal control to benefit from an open therapeutic milieu.

Acute psychiatry: This locked voluntary and involuntary unit emphasizes diagnostic evaluation, short-term treatment and discharge planning. Nursing practice includes assessment, individual and group psychotherapy and behavior management skills.

Harborview offers additional specialized practice opportunities for ambulatory care nursing. International medicine, HIV/AIDS care and the Harborview Abuse and Trauma Center are just three examples of the more than 45 clinics located at Harborview.