Today I accepted an offer working on a Medical-Respiratory ICU! I got the job that I wanted with the hospital that I wanted! I'll be in a new grad residency program that I have a LOT of confidence and faith in! The manager was AMAZING and the nurse I shadowed was FANTASTIC! I'm so excited to be starting my career here and I hope to stay! It has been a long journey from graduation in May until now and all I can say is that GOD IS GOOD. He may not come when you want him, but he'll be right there on time, and those loans are just around the corner! I'm feeling so blessed right now to be joining the ICU team! If anyone has any tips, information, funny stories, first job memories, or well wishes to pass on, I'm glad to accept them!
Sep 17, '13
Congrats! I worked MICU prior to grad school, it was honestly the best place to be. You get a mix of everything nobody else wants. Stroke but they're in renal failure? They're going to MICU. Massive MI, but cath lab says no way? They're going to MICU. You'll become a jack of all trades there.
Best advice I can give is be open to opinion from many people. More than one way to skin a cat, if you know what I mean. Just take it all in, and when you're on your own you can pick and choose what works best for your own practice.
Never be afraid to ask questions, but try and answer them yourself first. Work through the issue, think about labs, meds, etc. and see if you can't piece it together yourself. If you're still stumped, ask someone. And if you want a second opinion just to make sure you're right, that's fine too. Nothing is more dangerous than an orient who doesn't know when to ask for help.
Make it a point to learn something brand new every day, whether it be how to wedge a Swan, insert a Flexiseal (and learn who can or can't have them), or understand what hepatorenal syndrome is. Every patient you have, every intervention they need, has some learning experience attached to it. I think new grads who come in wanting to learn, not just figuring out how to go through the paces, are the ones that end up the most successful when orientation is done.
Sep 17, '13
Thank you so much for your great advice! It really seems like the type of place where everyone is glad to give help, so I'm hoping that will prove to be true.
That last piece about coming in with a desire to learn and not just go through the motions is very helpful for me to remember what I really want to get out of this career! Thanks again!
Sep 17, '13
I started as a new grad in the SICU back in July. The 3 most important things I have to pass on to you are:
1) ASK QUESTIONS! Don't ever be afraid it will make you sound like you don't know what you are talking about - it has the opposite effect, really. No one expects you to know everything - in fact, I've had several conversations recently about how nursing school in no way prepared me for working in the ICU. Pretty much everything is going to seem new to you and that's ok!
2) Go at your own pace. I had a situation where I made a somewhat serious error because I was super rushed (my preceptor had me attempting to take on busy doubles during week 2 - bad idea!). Now if I feel rushed or that I don't have time to really think everything through, I make it known immediately. I'm not sure what yours will be, but my orientation is 20 weeks long so there's really no hurry. Take advantage of this time!
3) Be prepared to have bad days. I love my floor about 80% of the time. The other 20%, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, and want to go home and never come back. After talking with my other nursing friends - this is totally normal and hopefully these days will happen less and less often.
Good luck! I was intimidated before starting, but an ICU is really a great place for a new grad. The learning opportunities are constant and you will be surrounded by people who want to teach you. Enjoy it!
Sep 17, '13
@lucasaurus Thank you! What was your orientation period like? Did you actually have your own patients or did you mostly just follow your preceptor in with her patients and care for them supervised? My orientation will be 14 weeks, but the amount of things we have to do outside of our work on the unit is EXTENSIVE! Which I am perfectly ok with!!!! Also, could you give me some examples of things that frustrated you as an ICU new grad that made you "want to go home and never come back"? I'd just like to anticipate any additional stressors that come with being a new grad AND in the ICU!!! Thanks a lot for your feedback!!!