It will get better...right?

  1. 0
    Hi all,

    I graduated from nursing school in June and the following Monday, I started in the Cardiothoracic ICU. I get off orientation next weekend. The orientation for the new grads has been great. We've going through skills labs..had case studies..had classes each week..and we even have a full test date with skills and 3 written tests. They have really prepared us.

    But, I'm still very nervous! I feel SOO dumb at's like..what did I learn in nursing school?? I've been told it takes ATLEAST a year before I will be able to breathe normal..and even never stop learning and doing. But, I just feel a little off when it comes to the doctor's rounding and helping them with bedside procedures such as insertion of Swans..or intubations/trachs. I've gotten good reviews from my preceptors and everyone (including my nurse educator) has told me I'm too hard on myself and that I can't compare my 3 months of experience with someone who has 1 or 2 years of experience.

    I still have SOOO much to learn and while i don't feel overwhelmed yet..I do feel stressed. We've rotated through day and night shifts (I'm on my 2nd go-round with days) and I'll be nights for good starting in October. I feel less stressed at night. Still stressed...but not as much.

    I just need assurance that it will get better...right??

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  2. 10 Comments...

  3. 0
    It will get better, but it will take time. So give yourself the time
  4. 0
    Thanks. I'm
  5. 0

    Im considering applying to scott and white and read in one of your earlier threads about you working there. I just passed my boards and wanted to do the icu there? I was wondering how you feel about scott and white honestly and the inside details?
  6. 0
    All I can share is that for the first 6 months as a nurse, I felt like I was 30 seconds away from killing everyone I touched. The second six months, I felt like most of them had a shot at surviving the shift. At the end of 3 years, I felt like I could pretty much handle whatever hit the door on our telemetry unit. So then I went to ICU. Bang! Back to feeling like I was the most dangerous nurse in the place, I didn't know enough, etc. Now, more than a year on, I feel like I can cautiously handle most of the stuff that happens at our shop -- now, am I ready for an Emory, Duke, MCV, Johns Hopkins ICU? Of course not, if I went to that level of criticality, I'd feel like a newbie all over again.

    But that's what's great about nursing. You can always reinvent yourself by doing something different. I recommend the ICU Book, and the CCRN study guide -- they help fill in the blanks for the things you don't see all the time. We won't have an A line for 4 weeks, and then we'll have half the people in the unit on them (I'm in a small rural ICU). It's good to have as a resource in the locker for when weird stuff hits the door.
  7. 0
    Give yourself time. I also started in the unit as a new grad and it takes time to feel comfortable. Once you've been exposed to more patients and illnesses you will have a frame of reference when caring for patients. You will recognize the patterns and symptoms of the critically ill. Give yourself time, I've been at it over 7 yrs now and I still learn something new every day.
  8. 0
    I served 12 years in CVICU.

    No, it does not get better, but you do.

    Hang in there, it can be pure hell at times, but you can do it!
  9. 0
    Thanks all! I'm officially off orientation. I get butterflies almost every time I go in (especially after a series of days off). But, I'm learning to breathe and to also use all my resources (more seasoned nurses). If I can just get through the first year mark, I'll feel so much better. Can't wait to see myself then!
  10. 0
    Give it a good six months. I felt like I made so many errors when I started. The patient deteriorated, and it was all my fault? Of course not, but I could not see why. I was so tired and stressed, the whole anatomy and physiology of intensive care was beyond me.
    But after a while it did make sense. It did 'click' and I got good feedback from my mentor. It did get better. But the first few months were really tough, and I didn't think I was any good at all.
    12 years later, still in ICU, clinical nurse specialist. Some days it is crap, other days I love it.
  11. 0
    you chose to start nursing in a difficult job. it will get better -- honestly it will. but the first year of nursing is overwhelming, scarey and sometimes just downright sucks. don't ever stop learning . . . you don't know everything now, and you never will. i've been a nurse for a good long time, and i still learn something new every day.

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