I have been an RN for 2 years now working in PCU/Stepdown thinking of transferring to ICU. I have always wanted to do ICU nursing because I have always found it to be very interesting. My only issue is that my when I have a patient who is crashing my nerves get bad. My anxiety sets in and my hands shake, but I hold it together well. I am always able to answer questions appropriately and perform well under pressure. I am just wondering if there are any ICU nurses out there who started out the same way, being nervous in those situations, and how you adjusted. Will I become more relaxed in those situations to where it won't bother me as bad or will I always feel the same after I get more experience? I think that I put too much pressure on myself to always want to know everything that's going on with my patient and if I don't know it makes my nerves bad. It seems that ICU nurses are always calm, collected, and knowledgeable even when their pt is crashing. Any feedback is much appreciated.
Nov 13, '13
Well, I think that you are still nervous, but learn to put on your "game-face". Plus, when I worked on the floor - I often didn't KNOW what to do when my patient was crashing and was maybe afraid that I had missed something or did something wrong to cause the change.
If you are talking about ICU nurses that respond to RRTs or codes that seem calm and collected, well, it is (to me) much easier to remain calm when you are not the primary nurse.
Personally, since I've switched I have learned so much and don't panic as easily as I did. I know more of what to do and look for, what to ask the doc for, etc. I get more frustrated than nervous now - especially when you are doing everything you can think of and the patient is still trying to die.
Plus, I only have two patients at a time. Much easier to stay on top of things that way.
Nov 13, '13
Plus when you're in those situations on a fairly regular basis, you learn what to do in those cases, and it's not nearly as nerve wracking.