Landed an externship in the step-down ICU... aaaand I'm super nervous!

  1. Can anyone tell me what it is like in step-down ICU / ICU?
    Any tips/advice (big tips/small tips.. anything!)
    Ways to be extra helpful for the nurses?

    I will be doing 4 shifts as PCA/CNA and 1 shift as an extern (doing mainly nurse type things) rinse and repeat. I know I'm not going to start off with a lot of patients, but the ratio for CNA's is 1 to 6. My manager compared our step-down ICU to a regular ICU in most hospitals.

    This is my first medical job and I'm nervous just because of how critical the patients are. At the same time, I busted my butt to get this so I could gain confidence with patient care. These externships are ridiculously hard to get (I'm amazed I got it, considering I'm not involved in CNSA or do volunteer work. I work part-time, do school, and am ACLS certified.. that's it. But hey!!) I want to just be as helpful as I can for the nurses while learning as much as I can. I was told 99% of externs are hired after graduation. I just don't want to mess up!

    I'm in my 4/6 semester (Maternal/Child) of nursing school if this helps any.
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    About xx_remix, BSN

    Joined: Jan '14; Posts: 20; Likes: 12


  3. by   blackvans1234
    My advice (as a peer) would be to figure out when things MUST be done (vitals @1500 1900, Blood sugars at 2000), everything else will fall in between.

    While you're doing tech work, seek out opportunities to see the RN doing things if you are caught up. Thank the unit manager and tell them how you'd love to work on a unit like this, especially because of their XYZ.

    Even as the tech, try to assess your patients, how do they look? how are the vitals? Pt responding well to treatments? Is the patient getting worse? Feeling worse or better?
  4. by   ArmaniX
    Just be a sponge. As a CNA always offer your help to the nurses and let them know that if they need you, you are available. Don't hide like some CNAs do, sit in the middle of the nurses station and be willing to assist. Ask questions and don't forget to smile.