Alone as a New Grad in the ICU - page 2

I recently graduated with my BSN as a second career in October 2011 and luckily snagged what I always imagined to be my dream job in an ICU in November. I believe that working in the ICU will eventually come to meet my... Read More

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    Quote from colie5265
    I recently graduated with my BSN as a second career in October 2011 and luckily snagged what I always imagined to be my dream job in an ICU in November. I believe that working in the ICU will eventually come to meet my expectations, but not until I have proven myself and am out of orientation.

    So far, orientation has been a long and bumpy road that I have been set to go down mostly on my own. I feel that there is not much support and that not many people are will to help me out. Its almost like they are waiting for me to crash and burn and give up. Why is it that they find pleasure in watching other people suffer, instead of assisting in my development.

    Cant they remember what it was like being a new grad, or just being new to the ICU?

    I almost feel like they are playing some evil game as if they are testing me to see how I will react to the added stress. For example, trying to plant a seed that I may not be good enough to work on the same unit, or that I have not earned my place there yet.

    Maybe they think it is good to see how I reach if they tear me down and point out all of my faults and make me feel stupid. I think they are waiting for a reaction of either seeing me bounce back with more force or seeing if I will just give up all together.

    Why cant they instead help. You know give some tips and tricks of the trade to help me fly instead of leaving me to drown.

    I have really pushed through. Put my head down. Learned as much as I could. Try to develop different strategies to improve myself and hopefully improve the experiences and orientation of anyone to come to this facilities ICU in the future.

    I always believe in helping others out, and improving on things that may have made my training and education better for others so that they will not have to struggle as much as I have. Why don't other people feel this way in the environment?

    Have any of you experienced this kind of behavior when coming into the ICU? Why is it that people seem to think that it is okay for nurses to "eat their young?"
    I am really sorry this is happening to you !!! Not all ICU's are like this !! I started out in an ICU much like the one you are in with nurses just like the ones you work with. I lasted 3 months. I then moved on to the hospital " across town " and found their ICU totally different. They had an outstanding preceptor program and nurses who really cared about each other. I lasted 15 YEARS !!!!! Your preceptor should be giving you WEEKLY evaluations that include strengths/ weaknesses, areas for improvement, and goals for the upcoming week. Your preceptor should be with you ( like your shadow) whenever you are doing patient care from the first day of orientation to the last minute of orientation and not " precept from the desk". You should have the SAME preceptor every single day so your progress can be evaluated properly. Your preceptor should possess nurturing abilities, NEVER be sarcastic, and be well grounded in principles of adult learning. Your success should be the priority !!!! You should NEVER EVER be left alone during your orientation!!!!! You should also be in a critical care nursing class at the same time as your orientation. Your preceptor should also be supportive of you and ALWAYS lend " a shoulder to cry on ". Keeping a "stiff upper lip" and "taking the high road" only goes so far. If your ICU cannot provide the above items in your orientation, then you may need to move on to a different ICU. This kind of experience is not worth it. You may also need to discuss you feelings with the nurse manager so a new plan for your orientation can be formulated !!!! We need to stop devouring and digesting our young !!!!! God Bless and wishing you great success !!!!! Sincerely, Bruce M. Pomeroy, MSN, RN
    colie5265 and Miss Molly like this.

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    I want to work for you Bruce! My preceptor is not like that at all. Plus I have a different one each week. Any chance you have a list of IV meds that can not be turned off ever? Like heparin.
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    If you can't figure out which "meds should not be turned off", you shouldn't be turning any of them off. In the ICU, it's important to know your drugs and not just by a list, but by what the drug is doing. Before turning something off, figure out why the pump is alarming. In the ICU, you can't be just turning things off when they alarm. That, in and off itself, is alarming.

    If the nurses seem frustrated with you, instead of trying to change them, look objectively at your own faults, lack of training, or critical thinking skills. The ICU pace is fast and furious in most units. It doesn't sound like your unit is set up for new grads or new ICU nurses. You have a couple of options.

    First, even though there are successful RN's who started as new grads in the ICU, most ICU RN's have had at least one year's experience on another floor first. Try med/surg or stepdown. Develop some basic skills, knowledge and critical thinking and then start in an ICU new grad program - probably at a different hospital. You should have a consistent preceptor and a training program that protects you, your patients and your fellow nurses.
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    Thank you all for your comments and support.

    It has now been two years since I posted this comment, and I am still working in the same ICU. I am very happy that I decided to push through and work as hard as I could to be the best nurse that I can be. It did take almost the full two years to earn the respect from some of the other nurses that were there when I started two years ago. Many of the nurses who were very rough and tough on me are no longer working at the facility. The environment improved for about a year...and now it seems to be declining once again.

    The negativity is not necessarily directed toward me any more, however I still feel its repercussions. I feel helpless to not be able to prevent or stop the horrid way that a few new employees are being treated. It pains me to know that there are still so many individuals that I work with on a regular basis that can be so horrible. Many of them have only been nurses for less than 5 years, and still have the audacity to treat their colleagues in such a poor manor.

    I would also like to clear up that I don't have any issues with the amount of education that any nurse has behind them, because for many it is all about their experiences and the knowledge that they have gained throughout their years. I respect every level of healthcare.

    I always feel that healthcare is all about the patient and if we cannot all get along, support and respect each other than the patient suffers. The patient is the priority. We should all take the time to reflect on this. Re-evaluate ourselves and find if we have forgotten this.

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