I am a new grad and just accepted a position in ICU/intermediate care unit. I am so excited, but I'm very nervous...I know that it will take time for me to get over being nervous and feeling comfortable. How long before a new grad feels comfortable in a critical care environment? I just keep saying to that I'm throwing myself right into the fire, but I will learn so much. Everyone who I tell that I'm a new grad going into ICU makes a face and says, "wow, you're brave"! That makes me even more nervous. So, any tips from fellow RN's?? Thank you.
Sep 22, '07
I'm so glad to hear that you're nervous! Please don't take this the wrong way, but I hope you never feel totally comfortable in any ICU. No matter how much you learn, how many years you practice, my feeling is that once one becomes totally comfortable in the ICU, it's time to switch to something else. That little bit of fear you should always have will keep you on your toes, make you a very cautious nurse. Now of course you'll become very familiar with certain diagnoses and courses of treatment, and you'll get more comfortable with each procedure as you perform it, but I think it's OK to have a little fear in the ICU, you never know what you'll see next.
I hope I haven't come off as discouraging, that was not my intent at all. Good luck with your new position! You will see and learn things you never thought possible, some bad and some good. And, yes, you are brave! ICU is a great unknown to a new grad, may you excell!
Sep 22, '07
Thank you so much. You made some very good points. I guess what I really wanted to say was just that, I want to become as familiar with technique and procedure as possible and build confidence. I know that once I feel more confident, I will be less anxious. Thanks again!
Sep 23, '07
Congrats!! I remember when I was a new grad starting in the ICU
The only thing more nerve wracking than starting your job in the ICU is your first night off orientation!! My advice is learn all you can! Listen to what your preceptor says, take every opportunity you can, and never give a medication you don't know or say you know something when you don't. Never be afraid to look something up!
About feeling comfortable... I have been in the ICU a year now and I am comfortable with most of the general things I see come through our doors, but I am still very uncomfortable with the things we don't see very often. I was talking to a nurse a few weeks ago that has been working there for a long time and she said that she is comfortable with almost everything now, but every once in a while something happens that totally stumps her or that she has never seen before. Thats the medical field for you! No matter how long you have been working in the medical field, something new is bound to show up.
Sep 28, '07
UPDATE: I've decided not to take the ICU position. I have found something more convenient for me as a single mom. I will be working in the ED and on orientation for 6 months. I'm much more relieved because I was stressing over childcare. I thought I had it covered, but things changed. Now my job will be five days a week, I am five minutes away and I can easily get my kids ready every morning and on the bus without any added stress. They'll only need childcare 1-2 hours a day after school. I feel like the weight has been lifted since my hours are so great and I can still be a mom. Thanks for all your great advice, tips and support...hey, not that I won't be nervous in the ED, it's just that the stress that I would have had with worrying about my kids while learning in the ICU would have been enormous. I have enough wrinkles! Feel free to send more great tips and advice my way!
Sep 30, '07
I appreciate the thoughts on a new grad in ICU. I am considering that specialty upon graduation in December this year. I am hoping that a hospital here in town will take me. I had a rotation in ICU this semester and really enjoyed the experience. It was challenging but it (frighteningly enough) seemed like something I could do and enjoy! Any tips on how to prepare for the job?
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