New grad hired into Trauma ICU in a Level 1 Trauma hospital - page 2

by rnfeb2011 18,643 Views | 21 Comments

I just got hired this week at a trauma ICU as an RN in a level 1 trauma center. My training with a preceptor is only 6-8 weeks. Can anyone provide me with any tips? I have already bought AACN Essentials of ICU Nursing, and have... Read More


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    I graduated nursing school last year and started in the trauma icu, I only had 5 1/2 weeks of orientation, we were short staffed and they felt i was ready for my own assigment. During my orientation my preceptor was often put in charge near the end of my orientation so i would have my own assignment with her supossed to be looking over me. My best advice is to ask questions, if you don't know something or are unsure just ask.
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    6-8 weeks seems short for a new grad. Does anybody else think this? Are they willing to extend it longer if you need it?

    I know 6-8 weeks is typical if you are floor nursing, but trauma ICU seems like it would take a lot longer to get familiar with everything you would come across. Am I wrong? I oriented for 10 weeks in the ER as a new grad. I have heard of people orienting 3-4 months in a large, busy ICU, and most of that is because of all the classes they want you to take on equipment and such.

    I know it doesn't answer any questions that you have, but I just want you to be safe and comfortable knowing you should ask for more time if you need it. You worked too hard for those letters after your name!


    I agree with the above comments. When I worked ICU-CCU we had to have had one year's experience as a nurse before we were even considered for the ICU course! Once selected, we then took a 6 month course which was very comprehensive. We were assigned preceptors who worked with us. Only after completing the ICU course could we work alone. A new grad with only 6-8 weeks of experience seems awfully short to me. Protect yourself, it is your license and no one else's. Get some experience in nursing as an RN before you even consider an ICU.
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    As an ICU nurse for >15 years, even our experienced floor nurses got 13 weeks!

    -Know your neuro inside and out, read up on ICP drains, neuro surgery

    -Read up on fractures and basic standards of care

    -Read up on s/s internal bleeding and hypovolemia s/s

    crap, I could go on and on.

    It will seem overwhelming at first. Choose to read to enjoy the learning, NOT studying. You will be surprised how it works. Read every day for short, short periods. No memorizing like in school.... cranial nerves... learn..."if my patients eyes deviate to the left, where is the injury. Hope that helps.

    Wish you luck.
    diosadelsol likes this.
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    I am instructor (and ICU nurse) who teachers preceptors how to teach. So the first question I would ask your manager is "Can I extend my orientation to a 12-week precepted 1:1 orientation?"

    I know jobs are scarce right now, and you are probably thankful for that job, but I would never put a new RN in a level I ICU ever, much less after only 6-8 weeks of orientation. I am not trying to get you down or scare you, but I think they are asking too much of you. However, listen to all the great tips from the other posters on this thread and also, KNOW YOUR RESOURCES! Know who to call and when, know who the most competent nurses are on your floor and get to know your MD residents well. Besides your book knowledge, know your people. Also, constantly ask "What if?" If you have a patient with an head trauma for example, and you do one treatment, ask what else might happen if you try other things. Find out what are the most common types of injuries and diagnosis you will see on your unit and brush up on those first. Good luck, hang in there, and ask lots of questions.
    diosadelsol and DatNurse82 like this.
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    Make sure you get an excellent preceptor. Even after nurses are off orientation and have a couple years experience, you can still tell which nurse they precepted with. You'll end up being a lot like them, so get the best one you possibly can that's going to teach you the most. Buy a couple critical care books (AACN has a few) or even go ahead and get a CCRN exam book as those can be excellent teaching tools and once you have 2 years of experience you'll be eligible to sit for the exam. Good luck!
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    I just got hired at our local little hospital ICU III as a GN, fresh out is school! Heck, I took my NCLEX yesterday!! I'll have 12 weeks orientation with the option to extend and I am shaking in my cowgirl boots!! Please, ask your manager about the possibility of an extension if need be. Get a feel for how they will react to such need so you are not blindsided at the end of you orientation...
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    Quote from Phlavyah
    I just got hired at our local little hospital ICU III as a GN, fresh out is school! Heck, I took my NCLEX yesterday!! I'll have 12 weeks orientation with the option to extend and I am shaking in my cowgirl boots!! Please, ask your manager about the possibility of an extension if need be. Get a feel for how they will react to such need so you are not blindsided at the end of you orientation...
    Hopefully you will be like me and be surrounded by seasoned nurses who realize if they help you and let you ask lots of questions in a shame free zone, you will make their life easier. They have the opportunity to train you up right. I have been a new grad in an ICU for over a year, and my middle name has been, " hey can you come look at this?". Just breathe, be ready to ask for help if you aren't sure. Try not to get defensive when you receive some constructive criticism. You will make mistakes even when you do your best. Don't be too hard on yourself. Take it one day and one patient at a time. You wouldn't be there if you had not earned that spot. You got this!
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    You cannot learn it all... Only who and where your reliable resources are. It's going to be a bumpy 3 years. It so worth it! It's a great patient population.
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    Being a recent graduate nurse, jobs down in Miami are scarce! Hospital jobs are really hard to get into if you do not have the experience. You new grads really lucked out getting hired in the ICU. I think i'd be cautious to take such a demanding job, considering my only experience has been in clinicals etc. Congrats to you both!!
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    [QUOTE="biancocm;6631921"]I graduated nursing school last year and started in the trauma icu, I only had 5 1/2 weeks of orientation, we were short staffed and they felt i was ready for my own assigment. During my orientation my preceptor was often put in charge near the end of my orientation so i would have my own wa/a-- in m ce


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