New Grad in SICU

  1. I just took a position in SICU. Any suggestions about what to study? Or suggestions about how to act? (I'm pretty loud and outgoing and think I might need to tame that in ICU).

    What makes a great team member in ICU?

    I start in Jan and feel like I should be preparing myself but I am lost.
    Last edit by Weezie on Nov 24, '07
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   cardiacRN2006
    Act like yourself! People will like you for who you are.

    As far as what to study, I'd study up on the frequent meds used, types of surgical procedures most often done there, and ventilator stuff.

    Good luck!
  4. by   RUNurse
    Welcome to the world of the ICU! My first year as a nurse took place in a SICU/MICU and I started the job 1 month after I passed NCLEX. Here are some pointers for working in the ICU that I found out (some the hard way)

    1: As stated before, be yourself. If you try to put on an act, your coworkers will know (ICU nurses are good at reading people).
    2: Stay Calm. The respect that you get while working will partially depend on how well you do in times of crisis (codes, etc..). It is not wise to loose control of yourself and start to panic. Stay cool, calm and in control.
    3: Be assertive. I know it is hard to do this when you are brand new, but it will go a long way when you do it. If you think/know something is not right, say so. Many doctors would rather have you call them for something minor (that you thought was major) than not call them at all or not for the major things. You are an advocate for the patients there who (mostly) can't talk; stick up for them!
    4: Use your preceptorship wisely. Your preceptorship is the best time to learn the attitudes and ways of the MDs and how things are generally done. Use this information to build your own style of care when you are on your own. Its not wise to be a "loner" on the unit.
    5: Help your coworkers: Being a team player is essential for the ICU, if you aren't....starting looking for a new place to work.
    6: Things to start studying: Ventilators (MUST), ABGs, Hemodynamics (CO,CVP,MAP..etc), Meds (sedation, VASOPRESSORS, and a general wide variety), wound care (JP drains, and other surgery related wounds). Main key in learning information is...Do not just know what and how...but WHY.

    Hope I did not scare you out of a job that you did not start yet. Best of luck to you and if you need any advice...just have fun posting.
  5. by   MommyandRN
    I'm sure you will learn all of this soon, but it is important to read up on the different types of arrythmias... it will take you a long time until you can look at the monitor and know exactly what rythm the pt is in. But start to look at some and learn how to differentiate between them.
    Also lab results - look at the normal ranges of some labs and what are the most important "red flags" and how to treat them.
  6. by   Conrad283
    Quote from RUNurse
    Welcome to the world of the ICU! My first year as a nurse took place in a SICU/MICU and I started the job 1 month after I passed NCLEX. Here are some pointers for working in the ICU that I found out (some the hard way)

    1: As stated before, be yourself. If you try to put on an act, your coworkers will know (ICU nurses are good at reading people).
    2: Stay Calm. The respect that you get while working will partially depend on how well you do in times of crisis (codes, etc..). It is not wise to loose control of yourself and start to panic. Stay cool, calm and in control.
    3: Be assertive. I know it is hard to do this when you are brand new, but it will go a long way when you do it. If you think/know something is not right, say so. Many doctors would rather have you call them for something minor (that you thought was major) than not call them at all or not for the major things. You are an advocate for the patients there who (mostly) can't talk; stick up for them!
    4: Use your preceptorship wisely. Your preceptorship is the best time to learn the attitudes and ways of the MDs and how things are generally done. Use this information to build your own style of care when you are on your own. Its not wise to be a "loner" on the unit.
    5: Help your coworkers: Being a team player is essential for the ICU, if you aren't....starting looking for a new place to work.
    6: Things to start studying: Ventilators (MUST), ABGs, Hemodynamics (CO,CVP,MAP..etc), Meds (sedation, VASOPRESSORS, and a general wide variety), wound care (JP drains, and other surgery related wounds). Main key in learning information is...Do not just know what and how...but WHY.

    Hope I did not scare you out of a job that you did not start yet. Best of luck to you and if you need any advice...just have fun posting.
    Helpful post, thanks.

    I just unofficially took a job in SICU, I just have to pass the boards. It's going to be a wonderful experience and I can't wait.
  7. by   CardioTrans
    Also, please do not be afraid to ask questions! The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

    Know how your vasoactive drips work and where they work in the body. Know the contraindications of them side effects etc. The most common ones that you will probably see are Levophed, Dopamine, Dobutamine, Neosynephrine, and Vasopressin... those are a good place to start.

    Some good websites:

    www.icufaqs.com excellent information here


    http://www6.medical.philips.com/cmsmedia/hemo_1/ a site with hemodynamic monitoring information


    http://www.ccmtutorials.com/index.htm critical care tutorials


    http://rnbob.tripod.com/ ICU survival guide

    http://medi-smart.com/tut-15.htm EKG simulator

    http://nursesaregreat.com/articles/arrhythm.htm how to interpret EKG strips

    http://www.gwc.maricopa.edu/class/bi...rt/ekgqzr0.htm another EKG interpretation site

    http://www.ccmtutorials.com/renal/RRT/pg/page3.htm CVVHD site

    http://medi-smart.com/criticalcare.htm list of resources for ICU

    That should get you started!!

    Good luck!!!
  8. by   CVICURN2003
    I think everyone has given you great advice. About your personality...one of our MD's says alot of us have "strong personalities". Which in our ICU is very true. But, we also understand each others personalities and understand,especially in a crisis situation, that everyone gets to the point and moves fast. Everyone else gets run over in the process. but the most important thing going in as a new grad (IMHO) is to not act like you know everything. Act confident in your eagerness and ability to learn, but not have RN-itis. We have some that come in and tell the EXPERIENCED nurses "how it is supposed to be done"!!
  9. by   Chisca
    All good advice. My 2 cents, Core curriculum for CCRN.

    http://www.us.elsevierhealth.com/pro...sbn=0721604501
  10. by   Weezie
    Thank you, everyone~:spin:
  11. by   putmetosleep
    Know your rhythms, ACLS protocols, hemodynamics and how to interpret them, ABGs, and vasopressors/gtts. Also be sure to understand vent settings, at least have a general idea of them, some of it comes with time. Be yourself, but be assertive. Many ICU nurses have strong, assertive personalities (which is necessary for the nature of ICU work), and can sometimes be interpreted as "bullies" by softer, quieter personalities (a personal experience, take it from me!). But it sounds like you won't have that problem. Just have fun, be as prepared as you can be before you start, and ask a lot of questions!

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