New grad in ICU getting some resistance - page 2

Hi everyone, I graduated nursing school in May and passed my boards a couple months later. While in school I was chosen for a critical care internship which led to a position as an RN in my hospitals' MICU. I have never worked... Read More

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    I started as a new nurse in the unit a long time ago! I had the benefit of knowing the staff before I became an RN because I worked in the unit as an aide. I knew who I could trust and who to not bother with. I was lucky. Most of the staff then had 10 or more years ICU experience. Now there are 3 of us on my shift with 10 or more years experience! Scary huh?
    Don't let the jerks get you down. Seek out people like myself who like new staff and do what I can to make them feel welcome. My famous line is the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. I also intervene if I think someone is in over their head. Most of my colleagues appreciate it and the ones who don't I stay away from until they ask (unless I think they will kill the patient-then I intervene despite their objections). Before you know it you will be the senior nurse mentoring the new staff.
    Med surg experience is a crock. Those poor slobs are so busy trying to give minimum basic care because of their ridiculous and unsafe patient loads that they don't learn anything other than how to get thru the shift alive. I have the utmost respect for Med Surg nurses-I don't know how they do it.
    Good luck in your career. The fact that you are asking shows you care. Sign of a great nurse!

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    In defense of ICU nurses: You walk into an ICU, and the nurse is just standing there...or sitting there, half-ass looking at the monitors. She certainly doesn't look busy. Why not ask her if she can help you with your patient? Maybe she can assist with suctioning, assessing b.p. response to vasopressor, changing that drainage bag, checking that chest tube or dampened A-line waveform?
    All ICU nurses know the dozen things going thru your mind as you are standing there mentally assessing/prioritizing what is going on with your patient and trying to decide what the next intervention should be. If you were the patient, what do you want your nurse to do?
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    I am also a May 2002 grad who was hired into an ICU. This was the first year they were hiring new grads, and the Director of Nurses at my school told me that she thought it would be a good preceptorship program for me to get into (she even called the Nurse Manager to schedule an interview for me!)
    Yesterday was my six month anniversary and I am ready to get out of there. My eight week orientation (I was told I would have 12 weeks, but it was shortened, to my dismay) was so exciting and enjoyable. I was even asking to come in on a day off just to follow an open heart surgery patient from the OR through his first post-op day. All the nurses were really helpful, and I was constantly being brought into rooms to share in procedures and other things.
    Right now, though, I feel stuck in a rut. Since my being there, seven nurses have quit. We are now relying on travelers to fill the holes. I am now also just another body to fill the holes. I am constantly given patients that they know I can handle, and very few learning opportunities. The nurses don't have the time to teach me, and most times I don't have time to look for new things to learn. We are supposed to have a 1:2 ratio, but I usually get three; one night I was given 6 patients. I am beginning to doubt my abilities as a nurse.
    It makes me sad to think about it, because I was so excited when I graduated. My instructors told me that I was one of the best students they had ever had. I loved learning all this new stuff and couldn't wait to put it into practice.
    I thought that maybe I was just expecting too much until I got close to some of the travelers. They have been to several hospitals and said that ours needed to make some serious changes. None of them have renewed their contracts and end up counting the days until they can leave.
    One traveler in particular that I have become close to is leaving next week. I'll probably cry when she says goodbye. She has taken it upon herself to teach me something new everytime we are working together and to constantly tell me that I am a good nurse. She tells me that I really need to get out of here. She has been in nursing for over 20 years and I trust her opinion. I was beginning to wonder if I had chosen the wrong profession, but she helped me have a little more faith in myself.
    So I have decided that I do want to be a nurse, in fact I LOVE caring for patients. I just need to be in a different setting. I don't know if I need to be something other than an ICU nurse or I need to just not be in this particular ICU. That is the struggle I am having now.
    Another thing that makes my decision difficult is that my Nurse Manager found out that I wanted to leave and said she would double my pay if I would stay. She said she I couldn't leave because she had "too many plans for me in the future."
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    LadyJ, I'm sorry you are going through this. Sadly, your experience causes many new nurses to bail and is part of the reason behind some ICU nurses' hesitancy in accepting new grads.

    When a facility is not prepared to really mentor and teach they set up the new grad to fail. No, of course it is not right. But the staff is too exhausted themselves to give much to the new nurse.

    My advice is to find a better environment for yourself or you may burn out. It's always been important to me (even after 15 years in ICU) to work with critical care staff MORE experienced than I can continue to learn from them.

    Good luck to you...take care of yourself!
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    Jessiepilot-there are many nurlses who will tell you that you need med-surg experience. Some people do...some don't. it depends on your confidence and how retentive your knowledge. Floor nursing is very different from ICU nursing, so the experiences you learn on the floors are not always applicible, although many times helpful.

    be careful. I would ask specifically what plans your nurse manager has for you in the future. She obviously recognizes your strength, and doesn't want to lose you. I really question that any manager could just promise you double your pay though, sounds pretty fishy.
    It sounds like you have developed a good rapport with the experienced travel nurse. Seek her/his guidance. Are there other hospitals where you might be better off? Could you develop more skills where you are if you voice your concerns? It sounds like a place in trouble if you've lost 7 rns in the past several months, unless they left for school, advancement or life changing moves. Look at why they left. If the travelers are saying they want out -is it because of the unit, the pay, the hospital or their own personal situation?
    In a situation such as you describe, frequently it's a good idea to move on, but remember a new nurse needs to set up a work history. You might want to spend the next several months seing what is available out there, while investigating what your manager thinks can be offered to you. Solidify your skills, and when you're sure-move on.

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