New Grad

  1. Hey everyone... I graduate in 12 days and I just got a job offer in the CCU/ICU, do you think I need the year med-surg everyone is talking about?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   heysmalls
    Hey jamiejo,

    congrats on the upcoming graduation!!! I have to say, I worked in med-surg for 5 1/2 years before I started working in ICU/CCU. I believe that it really helps, esp. with time management. I have seem some new grads come here without working in med surg first, and most have stuggled getting it all together. I feel like it would benefit you more if you worked med surg first. Hope this helps you and good luck to you in whatever you do.

    heysmalls
  4. by   srna2008
    It depends,

    I started in SICU, but I worked in the unit as a tech all through nursing school, so I was already fairly comfortable with the equipment. It is also very important to have a good preceptor and education program. I have been here for a year now and have not ever felt too overwhelmed.

    Congrats on graduation
  5. by   Medwynn
    I am one of those graduates who went into CIC/CCU without med-surg experience. But i was an apprentice for 8 months prior to becoming an RN in that unit.

    You really need to dial in the time management. Before i get report from the nurse, I write down what needs to get done at the scheduled times. Formulate my game plan for the night. You never know when you'll have to get an art line started and have to titrate two pressors an hour after you start shift. ..

    Good luck.
  6. by   SoundofMusic
    Yeah, or if you will get a new admission, or a patient that crashes while you're in the other room doing something else with your other pt.

    I am a new grad and have been in the ICU for about 2.5 months now. And I'm now at the point where I'm thinking of asking to be put back into med surg until I get my time management skills and sea legs. But this is just me. I have no prior nursing experience whatsoever, no prior tech experience or anything. I did have a month on a really busy med surg floor in school, but that's not enough, believe me. And yes, I did very well in nursing school, got good grades, was one of the "smart ones," LOL.

    I am gearing up to tell my manager, and I feel entirely at peace with my decision. My goal is to get back to this unit in about 6 months or a year, maybe even more, who knows. I just know now that I need it before I even attempt ICU again.

    I do have a very stressful home situation as well. Hubby is gone overseas, kids at home, lots of responsibilities and I can't find the time to take care of myself well enough to be ready to go in there with guns blazing.

    Again, this is MY situation. If you're young, strong, smart, have freedom on your off days to really study, or to come in and practice skills on your off days (that's what I wish I could do, but can't as I do have a family to take care of as well) have had some prior experience, even as a tech, I thnk you could do it w/ the right preceptor and courses.

    I know I will be ICU material someday, but just not now. I can easily grasp the pathyphysiological concepts, but I need time management skills and basic nursing skills solid in my brain first. Also need solid support at home as well.

    Just getting to this decision takes an enormous burden off of my soul at this point. I don't feel the slightest bit ashamed ...ICU is a LOT of additional information and skills to learn, a lot of critical thinking, on top of your basic nursing skills. You gotta be fast, and you have to handle very tough situations. Just the illness level of the patients is so sad ... sometimes that is also what would put me over the edge. And yes, we all love a challenge, but this is a really HUGE challenge that for me was not doable.

    But it IS doable, with the right conditions. I also feel that the unit needs to BUY IN to your presence there. Our unit took on 5-6 new nurses at once -- so, we were juggled among preceptors w/ odd schedules, and there was little consistency. Not good, not good. You need a consistent, solid preceptor who will not abuse you and who can bring you along quickly without killing you in the process.

    Just words of experience from one new grad out here now.
    Last edit by SoundofMusic on Dec 9, '07
  7. by   All_Smiles_RN
    I wouldn't say necessarily med-surg. Telemetry, PCU, cardiac step-down, etc would be better options in my opinion. Good luck in whatever you decide.
  8. by   SoundofMusic
    What do you suggest, then?

    I figured just doing med surg for a while would help me get my nursing skills down pat at least. Am I wrong?
  9. by   DANWIEW
    I just graduated last week. I precepted in school in CCU. I fell in love with it. I interviewed with the Nurse manager and was hired for the unit. I start Dec 30th. I feel I can do this but still hear that small voice saying are you really sure. I had thought about going back to geriatric where I was already at but was incourage to do something else. I have 12 years experience as an LPN in different areas including Med surg but for the last 4 to 5 years it has been geriatric.

    I found a nurse on the unit that I want to be like when I grow up. The assessment skills she has by just walking in the room is out of this world to me and that what I want to be like. I will let you all know how it goes. I heard stories that its good and bad going in as a new grad but I want the challenge.

    Thanks for reading and please give me feedback
  10. by   SoundofMusic
    Well, Ha Ha. ..they ain't letting me out. Supposedly I'm not doing THAT badly . . . my manager is ok with me.. .so, I'm staying. It's one thing one day, another thing another day. . . . all I can do is try my best . .if it's really bad, they'll remove me, LOL.

    Yes .. the ICU nurses are just really something to behold. Their assessment and critical thinking skills are something to emulate, that is for sure. When you're precepting w/ a nurse w/ 30 years experience,most in ICU, it's just mind boggling.

    So, don't necessarily listen to me.. I'm just in that painful uphill climb stage, where I feel like running. It's a healthy fear ...
  11. by   dadslilgyrl22
    Yeah!! I say hang in there. I just got hired on cic/ccu and i am scared as well... But they wouldnt have hired you if they didnt feel you could make it.
  12. by   cardiac.cure03
    Hi,

    I was hired into CCU as a new grad with no previous experience at all on an ICU floor. I've been there a little over a year now, and I wouldn't have done it any differently. I absolutely love it! I just asked tons and TONS of questions during my orientation...and have probably asked just as many since then, hehe. I search things online or look things up in my nursing books once I get home... It just makes much more sense as you skim through a chapter if you've just had real hands-on experience with whatever you're trying to learn about.

    I'm over a year in, and just yesterday, I came home after caring for a chest tube patient with specific difficulties and looked some stuff up... it made so much more sense than it did in nursing school, b/c now I feel like I actually get it and I can apply the information to a specific situation.

    The idea of starting right off in ICU was intimidating for me. But I knew ICU was where I wanted to be, whether it would be right away or after going to tele first. I just figured that since I ultimately wanted to be in ICU, I'd just start there. You learn a lot of the same types of concepts that you would learn anywhere else... it's just in a different context.... such as time management and prioritizing. You learn those things no matter where you go.

    As long as you're not afraid to ask ask ask and you're pro-active with learning new things on the fly, I'd say go for it. But most of all, just go w/ your gut.

    Best wishes
    Amy
  13. by   Zookeeper3
    SOUNDOFMUSIC-

    I swear to you.. every single nurse into the ICU feels as you do for at least a year with good and bad days strown in. You can expect to feel stressed, incompetent, unsafe, scared for many months... and a year or even 6 months in you look back and see progress... you can intubate without stress.... a basic admit... "got it gang"... then by a year... you're watching the unit and helping others, hearing IV pumps, helping with admits.... running a code.

    What you are going through is a normal stress response to change and I promise you if you search these boards... your experiece is similar to everyones.


    Now, on the homefront... dealing with these stressors at work and having more at home does not give you the down time you need. As nurses, we take care of everyone.. at work and home before ourselves. I'm giving you permission to stop and take care of self. Only you can find the answer... the military community is VERY supportive, use their clubs, groups and resources for down time and help at home... join play groups.... use the base to to and exercise, bowl, horesbackride.... that's why it is there.

    If you don't take care of you, you will not be in a position to care for your patient.... same as home life.. you need to be happy and healthy to hold the fort down... utilize your resources, put yourself first as you need to be. Your priority is YOU to be the best wife, mom, nurse and PERSON to do all these things.

    I work in a military town and I sympathize... but I hope you'll do what is needed and YOU come first, the job... second, third and forth.... period.

    Thats HOW you last in critical care. Wish you the best
  14. by   SoundofMusic
    Just stopped by to visit this thread and provide an update. I did in fact leave my ICU and went to a med surg type floor at another local hospital. I so far am really, really happy with my new unit and feel so much better. My preceptors are just gentle old nurses and it's much more humble situation than the ICU. I can go home and be a mom and take care of my kids. My body and mind just feel radically better. Nursing is not the draining mind blowing experience it was before.

    I can now just slow down and find my rhythm as a nurse. I can practice IV's, pumps, wounds, assessments, paperwork, the phones, the docs, all of the little millions of just basic nursing things that you need to get down and let become second nature. I am learning the "art" of nursing at the bedside . . .I am also enjoying the interaction with the patients and learning my own style of being with them.

    All of it will serve me so well . ..talking with docs, calling up every deprt in the hospital to find out answers, transferring, admitting, helping patients work out various individual issues. I mean, every patient has their thing you have to help them with and every day brings new variety.

    I don't know the answer. I just know everyone has their own path to take and it's not a cookie cutter thing. Whatever works for you at your time of life is what I say. For me the ICU will have to be later, or never at all - but I have a wonderful appreciation of it and if I ever return, I will be very proud of the path I took to get there. Once I get there, I can concentrate on the ICU skills and not the basic nursing stuff - it will just be second nature.

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