Do I have what it takes?

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    Hello fellow nurses. I am a newer registered nurse with 15 months experience on a PCU stroke unit/tele medsurg unit. I currently work in a LTC facility part-time because I am going to school full-time to finish my BSN (graduated from a hospital-based nursing program). I will be graduating in May. I have always been interested in critical care and emergency care since I was little (even shadowed a paramedic friend for fun), but I don't know if I have what it takes. I didn't like regular floor nursing, because I couldn't give my patients the care I thought they deserved (up to 5 on stroke unit, up to 8-9 on med unit) . I went home knowing I did my best, but still felt bad. I am definitely a type A personality and can be obsessive at points, sometimes triple checking heparin or cardizem drip infusion rates. I'm not afraid to ask questions or ask for help, I prefer to consult with more experienced nurses and doctors that way I know my patient is getting the best care, we learn from one another and it gives me a peace of mind. I don't know if it's lack of confidence/experience and/or fear of making a mistake that is keeping me from trying out the ICU. At the hospital where I used to work I had to take a personality test, my results were in the middle with a slight tendency of being an analyzer...but in the ICU you don't always have time to analyze, you have to act quick. I often worry about legal issues because I've heard so many horror stories. Does this worry fade with more experience?

    Also to give you more insight I am certified in BLS/ACLS, and I am very motivated, studious, and tend to get along with many different people, and always thinking ahead.

    I am not happy with LTC or med/surg, definitely have not found my niche yet. I know I can't know for sure if ICU will be a fit for me and vice versa unless I try it. Anyone else ever have these feelings of apprehension? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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    Yes, you have to act quickly, but you're not normally running around in a panicked state. In training, you learn what to do, when to do it, and to do it expeditiously, but you're not running around with your head cut off. Repetition builds your confidence and the confidence of others that you can handle more seriously sick patients. Mistakes? Yes, you will make them. Everybody does ... you're human. The thing is to own up to your mistake, fix it, and learn so you don't do it again. If you're following policy, not taking shortcuts, and paying attention to what you're doing, then you'll do fine.

    Do you have what it takes? Only you can answer that.
  5. 0
    Thanks for your input. I recently just applied for a Neuro ICU position. I kind of wish I would have tried the ICU right away because I'm finding that most hospitals are not willing to train nurses. They want nurses who already have experience in the chosen specialty.


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