Hi! I have a question for those seasoned ICU nurses out there:
I started my ICU orientation as a GN about a month ago. In short, I am really having some doubts about my choice to work in the ICU. My orientation has been nothing short of extremely stressful. My preceptor is a pretty harsh person and, to be quite honest, I sort of dread going to work. Like, to the point that I have considered calling out. I understand that this is an environment that can swallow up a new grad pretty easily, but I had at least hoped it would be a bit more supportive. I feel as though i get the "Are you stupid?" look when I ask questions. I have more of my flaws than successes pointed out to me it seems. This has been very difficult for my self-esteem and has made me uncomfortable about asking the most basic of questions (about lines, gtts, etc). Also, I live in constant fear of not responding appropriately when my patient crashes (which I'm sure will happen sooner or later...). The people on the unit are generally kind, but it still feels like I'm walking on egg shells all the time. I look at all the drips, hear the monitor alarming, the vent alarming... all of these things, and I feel in over my head. I'm freakin' out.
I came to the ICU because of a strong desire to learn and become expert at managing critically ill patients (ie, I have no aspirations of CRNA or grad school at the current time). I also felt more attracted to it than med surg. I am beginning to wonder if I chose the wrong path or if these are feelings many people experience...Right now I'm just wondering if I'm in the right field.
Thank you for your wisdom,
I completely agree with you. I think that having supportive people around has been what's gotten me through this. I look to the more experienced nurses on the unit for guidance and support, and fortunately most of them are wonderful. It's unfortunate to hear stories about preceptors like yours and mine. One should never, ever feel stupid for asking questions about patient care. To me, that's a dangerous environment to create. I wish there was more of a spirit of cooperation at times and that we were more focused on taking care of the PATIENT (and helping make new orientees/students/etc more competent and able to do so). Unfortunately, not everyone seems to be of that mindset. Sometimes, it seems people would rather withhold their knowledge and feel powerful and superior than help you. I don't think they realize that 1) we will all be coworkers and should be functioning as a team, and 2) some day, we might be taking care of their behinds!
If anything, these experiences will make us better preceptors years down the road.
Thanks for the words of support and encouragement, everyone!
Last edit by NewtoICU on Oct 8, '10