new grad icu orientations 6-8 wks- safe?

  1. hi everyone,

    looking to transition into icu, but finding that new grad icu programs in los angeles (from several hospitals) offering orientation lasting around 6-8 wks. i have 15 mos home care rn experience that included 6 mos of orientation.

    icu programs with 6-8 wks- can that be safe? and its from hospitals like cedars sinai- a magnet hospital, usc and others....

    what are your thoughts? any advice?

    thanks, after
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   xantha31669
    I haven't graduated yet, but the ICU that I plan on going to has a 6 month orientation which includes classes on ECG reading, cardiac meds etc. plus working with a preceptor and having a patient assignment. I would be very scared to go into that kind of setting and not get the orientation my hospital gives.
  4. by   Teshiee
    I would find out what is involved in this 6-8week course. My Nicu training was 12 weeks with 2 8 hour classroom days and 2 days with preceptor 12 hour days. Then afterward we had an additional 2 weeks on the floor and even after that we didn't get take vent kids until later on. Express your concerns and ask questions because when in doubt don't pout get out!
  5. by   Tweety
    Our hospital won't take someone off of orientation until they are ready. If at the end of your orientation you're not ready, then say so. I'm sure they will work with you.

    If this 6-8 weeks is after an ICU course then I think 6-8 weeks is adequate. Hopefully, after the 6-8 you will be working with a supportive staff that knows you are new, knows you will have a lot of questions, and will help you.

    Will you have any classroom training, or is it just straight from home health to ICU? Still 6-8 side-by-side with someone is a long time. But again, speak your mind to your higher ups, I'm sure they'd be willing to work with you.

    We have an ICU course, then we orient for 6-8 weeks where I work and it seems to prepare people well.
  6. by   scrubs12
    thanks for your replies,

    the 6-8 wks orientation includes both didactic and clinical instruction, it makes me a little nervous but it seems that ALL the los angeles hospitals are offering the same kind orientation time frame...

    everyone at work says there will be no problem finding a position as los angeles is so desparate for nurses and if one hospital's program sucks i will be able to easily fine another but i don't want to place my future patients at risk nor my license.

    any recommandations on particular hospitals in los angeles?
  7. by   Qwiigley
    If you are looking in Los Angeles; there is a mandatory 6-8 week ICU course you are given for all nurses and new grads get a 6 month course at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, PICU. The education mgr is Fran Blayney. She is a really great person, talk to her. Personal message me, in the meantime I'll see if I can get her number for you.
  8. by   montroyal
    after01, 6-8 weeks orientation may be enough to get you orientated to the unit, but it is not enough to train you as an ICU nurse. I have worked at teaching hospitals and community hospitals. Every hospital that I would consider working at again had a six month orientation for all new ICU nurses. Critical care covers a large amount of knowledge and requires alot of hands on training. There is no way you can be exposed to all of the potential patients you will need to work with in order to become proficent, in 6-8 weeks. Any unit that believes you can aquire all the knowledge you will need to properly care for your patients in this short of a time frame, is not looking out for their patients or their staff. Keep looking for a unit which offers atleast a six month internship. Believe me, you will be a better nurse. Good luck.
  9. by   austin heart
    no. i would be very leary of a hospital that says they can make you an icu nurse in 6-8 weeks. UNSAFE! prob meens turn over is pretty high. why else would they need to crank out nurses so fast. also, look at the types of resourse people you are going to have if everyone else is trained in 6-8 weeks. i fancy myself to be a pretty good icu nurse, but i always am glad to have a more experienced nurse there to answer my questions when i have them. and know matter how long you have been in icu, you will have questions. good luck too you.
  10. by   Glad2behere
    I haven't seen any hospital that turns you loose after a 6-8 week internship. They let some slack develop in the lines by assigning you lower acuity patients, but you are not going to be expected to perform to the level of a seasoned vet. As you progress, so will the acuity of your patient load. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are patient safe and to communicate that with whomever is in command on the unit. ASK for help if you are not sure, this way you at least DO NO HARM.
    You'll do good.
  11. by   MPHkatie
    I was a new grad in a neurosurgical ICU after 6 weeks orientation. My patients did quite well. We had a nine bed ICU with 4-5 nurses on so it wasn't like I ever really flying solo like I might have been with the pt assignments I heard about in Med surg. Now, prior to my orientation I had spent the past three months in a student class required of all nurses at my school- 36-40 hrs a week working in a surgical ICU So I had been already suctioning and adjusting drip meds for that time. In addition, prior to graduation, I was certified to read telemetry, and had completed ACLS- so perhaps I was a bit mroe prepared. 6 weeks was quite adequate. In addition, I am just a nosey nurse nancy and asked a lot of questions, all the time and didn't hesitate to do insane things like call the atttending at home at 2 am if I wasn't understanding what the resident was doing....and no one else on the unit did either.
  12. by   rez RN
    when i graduated the programs ran 6 weeks and tried to specialize you to one area: neuro, coronary, open heart...(mine was coronary)

    sounds great till they pull you your first week off orientation to fill a staffing hole in neuro you don't know any of the nurses and if you are the slightest bit shy...... well you have an imagination

    any way i got done with school in dec started that jan the orientes that came out before me were stragglers who had orientation from nov thru dec ...if you don't know those are probably the two worst months to be on orientation because of low census...none of the grads/ new icu orientees who went through that rotation lasted 6 mos because their patients did poorly and they all burnt out..
    generally its your license if something goes wrong
  13. by   NicuGal
    Our orientation to NICU is 6-8 weeks. You have required reading to do at home that coincides with what you are doing on orientation. Then after 3 weeks, we turn you loose with just feeder assignment and a resource person for 2 weeks. Then it is on to criticals and admits. If you need a few extra weeks, we would grant it and then reevalutate. No one gets longer than 10 weeks, if they need that long, then they are let go.
  14. by   mattsmom81
    6-8 weeks might be a safe timeframe with an experienced nurse moving into ICU but I doubt it is sufficient for a new grad.

    The program I was affiliated with offered a 4 month program of classroom and critical care shadowing in 4 units...SICU, NeuroICU, CCU, and Stepdown. Most of the students liked the internship but wished it had been even LONGER.

    It is a lot to learn in 6-8 weeks...my advice is to talk to graduates of the internship and get their scoop. Perhaps the facility is staffed to offer adequate support their first months in critical care. Or perhaps they feel thrown to the wolves...better ask them.

    Good luck and let us know what you find out!

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