Kind of new to ICU

  1. Hi! I've never posted before but i've been following this site for many years and I want to say thank you for all of the great info! I love allnurses!So i've been externing in the ICU for 10months once a week and I'm a very recent new grad scheduled to start as an RN on the unit where I've been externing!! I'm so happy, excited , greatful... (You get the idea lol) but also petrified!!! I feel so lucky that I've had the opportunity to become oriented to the unit as a student so at least I wont feel totally clueless when I start my RN orientation but i cant shake this feeling of "will i really be able to do this on my own when i dont have a preceptor to consult?" sometimes I feel that I will be able to and that I just need to always learn as much as I can and that confidence will eventually come as I gain more experience but other times I feel so scared and like I may be incapable of making such autonomous decisions as I've seen the nurses that I work with make. I also can be neurotic at times and can become worked up at work if something is going on with the patient and I may alert the nurse and it turns out to be no big deal and would have been easy to correct possibly on my own, but I'm always worried what if it is a big deal and I don't let the nurse know and I jeopardize a patient's safety. We get level I traumas, neuro and medical/surgical patients so there is always alot going on and I can't help but to always second guess myself. Sorry that i'm rambling. Pretty much i'm just wondering A. are these feelings I'm having normal? B. if so, is there anything I can do to help alleviate these feelings of terror so that I can focus more on learning, such as maybe better prepare myself?(currently i'm reading paperwork we must fill out during our shift at home, going over drugs commonly used, taking general training classes at the hospital, and reading icufaqs.com) is there anything else i can do? Any input is very much appreciated and i would love to hear anyone else's experience. Thank you for listening
    Last edit by ICURN2B on Apr 13, '12
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   austin14
    Congrats on you new job! I am in the same situation you are. I am graduating in May and did my preceptorship in an ICU where I got a job. I am also very excited but nervous at the same time Good luck with you new job!!!
  4. by   ICURN2B
    Thank you! Congrats on graduating and getting your new job!! Good luck!
  5. by   fran313
    the fact that you worry about these things, well right there, you will be wonderful, never stop reading, asking questions, and thinking it thru!!!!!!

    ps, your preceptor is your best friend!!!!


    welcome to icu!
  6. by   ICURN2B
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words and advice
  7. by   rgroyer1RNBSN
    Welcome to ICU and congrats your gonna make it!Just remember your preceptor and charge nurse are your best friends!
  8. by   ICURN2B
    Thank you!! can anyone recommend any reading material? I'm reading icufaqs which is great, but I'd also like to have something else to refer to such as a textbook. I'm looking for something to reinforce things I learn about during training when I'm at home and can learn at my own pace
  9. by   BellaInBlueScrubsRN
    Its normal! Especially as a new grad. I started ICU right out of school too. Take the easiest patients first. And keep the same ones if you're on for 3 nights in a row. You get to know them and what's going on better. Then you'll work your way up. Definitely don't go for the most complicated right off the bat. Know your limits! I just did internet research on things I didn't know. icufaqs is great! Glad you found it.
  10. by   Definingmyfuture
    I am going to be a new grad in ICU starting in July and I feel the EXACT same way. I chose this area because I know I could learn so much from it but at the same time I am very nervous. I have found a couple of books on Amazon that I am going to start reading to hopefully prepare me before I begin, at least a little. Maybe you might find these useful as well, I have heard great things about them!
    1. Hemodynamic monitoring made incredibly visual
    2. Critical Care Nursing Secrets, 2e
  11. by   edmia
    Hi ICURN2B,

    I went from another area to the ICU and even coming in with 4+ years of experience in trauma/ED, I found it very hard to transition! The knowledge needed to feel proficient in an ICU setting is huge. It can be done and it is normal to be scared -- actually, I would expect you to be worried

    As someone else posted, your preceptor is your best friend. Get all the information you can out of them. Never be afraid to ask a question. Never.

    Some suggestions on reading/prepping material:

    1. Your unit's policies and procedures. Read them and study them. You have to know what your particular unit/hospital expects of you before you can start doing things. Usually available from the nursing educator on the unit or the hospital.

    2. Spend a little money and do the AACN critical care online courses. If the full critical care orientation modules are too much $$ for you right now, do the Critical Care Pharmacology course. It is invaluable and once you feel secure with your drug knowledge, other things will fall into place.

    3. Here's a great website with informal knowledge but really helpful and FREE: index

    4. BOOKS:

    Critical Care Nursing: A Holistic Approach by P. Morton & D. Fontaine. (used copies available for around $50-$60 on half.com or amazon).

    Critical Care Nursing Certification by Ahrens, Prentice, & Kleinpell. (Not just to prepare for the CCRN exam, it is a great resource).

    And, lastly, I'd like to encourage you to be mindful of your progress and ask for what you need. Meet with your preceptor and manager often and if you need to extend your orientation, don't be afraid to do it.

    Best of Luck!!!
  12. by   ICURN2B
    Thank you everyone for the advice and info!!! I really appreciate it good luck Definingmyfuture! edmia, signing up for that pharm course right now!
  13. by   tara1961
    I also start as a new nurse intern SICU at end of June, even though have been a LPN for 19 and recently a new RN grad, I feel the same way. have lots of good books but found website icufaqs to be helpful. What do the experienced ICU nurses think of that site? Good luck to everyone starting new!!!!!!!
  14. by   RNJohnny23
    I've been an OR Nurse for 9 years and just started in a rural, 11 bed ICU (there are no specialty ICU's, just us). Even though I've been a RN for a long time, it's different and stressful! There are definitely situations that I haven't had to deal with or haven't had to deal with in quite the same way, everyday. But I want to go to CRNA school and I had to start somewhere. Everyone on the team and the manager is really supportive. This is the most important thing about any unit anyway and especially important when you're new and learning. Just study things you don't know (I really like ICUFAQS, too) and ask team members you trust for help. Be humble, gracious, and do what you can to help others when you can. That's all any of us can do.

    Good luck to us all!

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