Quote from GaMommy81
I would love to hear from nurses who made the transition from med surg to ICU. What have your experiences been and what advice would you offer in order to be successful?
I worked a Medical Step-down unit with ratio of either 3:1 or 4:1. I worked there 2 years before transferring to the Cardio-thoracic SICU. Talk about overwhelming! I got through the 11 week orientation though. It was an awesome and scary feeling to seeing your patient come directly from open heart surgery on multiple drips, vent, IABP, etcc. to (hopefully) sitting up in the bed waiting to transfer to the SD unit the very next day! After 2 years of frustration with the ego of Cardiac surgeons, I transferred to a Medical ICU. Patients aren't as awesome, but the comradery with the ICU MD's is great!
I never had a very "rewarding" feel on the floor. Most were failure to wean, frequent fliers (which you will see in ICU as well). Both ICU's I've been in are either 1:1 if very sick or usually 2:1.
TIME MANAGEMENT is a must! Keep up with charting. Most of your shifts will be routine, but things can go from smooth to complete chaos in a matter of seconds. If you're already behind, prepare to be there late to finish charting.
CRITICAL THINKING. OF course you'll learn this as you see more, but most of the MD's expect when you call them to be able to tell them exactly what is going on and what you need.
Prepare to hear an earful if you call them in the middle of the night and don't know what to ask for specifically.
THICK SKIN. Some patients and or families are going to be difficult at best. The patient's going through DT's seem to be the worst. They will drain you physically and mentally.
Ask a lot of questions. Those that come in and act as if they know everything, or don't ask and screw things up don't last. Be a team player. When you're not busy, help others. You're going to need help at times, and as "professional" as nurses are supposed to be, they are also just as vindictive.
I'm sure there is so much more to tell, but I don't want to write a novel here
If you have any specific questions, feel free to inbox me.