Sorry....I failed to mention that I've been working as an Apprentice Nurse since June of last year. So almost a year of functioning in the capacity of an RN, working under an RN. I do all assessments, charting, calling docs, taking orders, giving meds (except IV meds), trach care, and anything else the RN is responsible for. I worked full time (3 days a week) through summer and then cut back to 2 days last semester and this semester, one day per week.
I feel comfortable yet still have that little bit of fear that I think is healthy to have in a critical care environment. I am the first person to ask all those "stupid questions" and have been told by my preceptor that asking those types of questions are what make me a good nurse, not a stupid nurse. My co-workers are EXTREMELY supportive of all the new grads and other RN's there and I will be working nocs where it's a bit slower paced, allowing me more time to get my thoughts together.
I still am a bit scared at only have 3 weeks, but other RN's have told me that having been precepting there for almost a year, I will probably be fine. I feel sorry for two of my classmates who just started their Apprentice Nurse positions at the end of January. They've only been there a few months and are only going to get 5 weeks of orientation. I'm really glad I started when I did. I actually began working in the ICU in December of 2003, right after my first semester of school was over. I started as an Apprentice Nurse I/Critical Care Tech, which gave me a lot of exposure to the ICU environment, familiarized me with staff, physicians, location of equipment, protocols, etc. So once I start in June of this year, I will have been in this department for 1 1/2 years.
I could still use a longer preceptorship (as anyone could), but I'll see how I feel once I'm done and they are ready to set me on my own. They do assign patients for you in the first few months.
Melanie = )