Can't handle the ICU

  1. Hi everyone
    I need some advice.
    I am a new grad that started in the ICU. I now regret that decision and am 9 weeks into orientation and I've found myself overwhelmed, with new found anxiety, in over my head, and making mistakes that I'm afraid can hurt my patients. I don't think I'm cut out for the ICU as a new grad because there is so much I need to look out for to protect my patients, and I am so task oriented that it is impossible for me to see the big picture and truly take care of my ICU patients. The patients are too critical for me to actually give them good care, when I don't even have my basic nursing skills down.
    My boss has given me the option to discuss transfering to the PCU. The only thing that makes me nervous about that is starting all over and having to learn all the new things on a new floor.
    Do you all think I should stick it out on the ICU or transfer to the PCU?
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   roser13
    Not knowing you, your abilities, your education or your personality, I'm not at all sure that internet strangers' opinions should weigh anything in your decision.

    Have you "clicked" with any of your new co-workers with whom you can discuss?
  4. by   beekee
    Usually, when your manager offers you an option to transfer, it means you should transfer.
  5. by   sallyrnrrt
    Agree with above post

    Info I found Icu, cake walk....you must be a good nurse and they saw potential...

    Best wishes...
    Sally
    Last edit by sallyrnrrt on Oct 15 : Reason: Texth
  6. by   caliotter3
    Quote from beekee
    Usually, when your manager offers you an option to transfer, it means you should transfer.
    This. It is the handwriting on the wall made clear.
  7. by   Wolf at the Door
    nothing wrong with pcu.
  8. by   MunoRN
    I would argue that a PCU is an ideal place to start, particularly if you want to progress to ICU. Sometimes if you want to be a really good ICU nurse, ICU is the last place you should start out.
  9. by   Castiela
    I can't even imagine starting in ICU as a new grad... And the few I have known who did start said they really struggled for the first couple of years. Good for you for realizing your limitations before having a major adverse event. Good luck in PCU.
  10. by   BedsideNurse
    I can't even imagine how bad it would have been if I would have started out in ICU as a new grad. I probably would have been booted out before the first day was done (seriously). Luckily I worked a couple of years on general type floors & then a year and a half on a (super sick) step down unit. Thank God I did all that because 1) I would have crashed and burned in ICU as a new nurse, and 2) with that little bit of experience it was a (nearly) painless/seamless transition into ICU. I say trust your gut. If it doesn't feel like the right time then I wouldn't do it. There is certainly no shame in spending some time on a PCU to get your bearings. Best wishes whatever you decide.
  11. by   catsmeow1972
    I was hatched as an RN in the OR. I was a scrub tech that got sponsored through nursing school by the hospital that I worked for. When i graduated i was all puffed up thinking, hey I know surgery, I've worked in the OR. I can do Surgical ICU! Right! Heh heh heh....WRONG!! I lasted just under 4 months. i went home after every shift and cried. I met some nurses that were colossal *******. Those same nurses were also some of the most clinically fantastic nurses I had ever seen. My puffed up balloon got popped real fast and i crawled back to the OR with my proverbial tail between my legs. Fortunately my nurse manager was willing to take me back.
    What did i learn from that experience? I don't think the ICU (especially the big teaching hospital, fresh liver transplant type ICUs) is the place for new grads. Such a new grad would be better suited to go through a residency program where they are exposed to less sicker patients and then transitioned into the ICU after they have a few months of experience under their belt. The other option is to not hire a new grad fresh out of school. Require a year on PCU or other such floor. Dumping a newbie into such a position does a disservice to both the new nurse and the patient. Just my opinion.
  12. by   angiebelle440
    I agree you should take the transfer option. You're new out in the world of nursing, babe, and having to orient to a new floor shouldn't keep you from transferring. You're gonna have to orient to a new floor if you ever float to a different unit, or change jobs, etc- might as well get used to it. But you're still anxious after 9 weeks, and as you astutely noted, anxiety keeps you from properly caring for patients. Granted, you were hired on the ICU right out of school, so they saw some potential in you, but you can also bow out and maintain this ICU option at a later date after you start to rule your PCU position. And there will be plenty of experience on PCU, don't worry about that.
  13. by   hawaiicarl
    Having oriented over a hundred ICU nurses I find your awareness very positive. Hang in there, unless like the other posters said, your manager is pressuring you to leave. I love orientees who realize as new ICU nurses they are focusing on tasks, but need to look at the bigger picture, it shows that you are developing critical thinking.

    Cheers
  14. by   missmollie
    I didn't get the ICU job that I wanted out of school, and instead was offered PCU job. I've been that that job for 2.5 years and I am so grateful, because as a fresh grad I know now that I wouldn't have made it.

    Accept the PCU job, go and provide the nursing care you want to provide, and don't get discouraged when you realize PCU is not as easy as you thought it would be. After a year there, you'll be more comfortable. After 2.5 years, you'll start to consider which ICUs you would apply to.

    Good for you for recognizing this isn't for you, and even though part of you doesn't want to leave the ICU, if a job makes you absolutely miserable, how long do you think you'll continue as a nurse? Step down units are amazing. Best of luck in your decision!

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