I'm interested to hear how nurses, new and seasoned got their start in ICU and qualities/ strengths possessed to work in this type of environment. Skills, critical thinking, prioritizing, all of the "dirt" on this area of nursing!!
I'm not a nurse, actually about to start my second semester in about two weeks but I work as a Tech in an ICU and in the years that or Ive been working in ICU I've only seen two different internship programs. As a new Rn without any experience you have a little bit more of adjustment. I would recommend that you take full advantage of the time you have shadowing an experience RN, make sure you have a nurse that loves to teach and will take the time to explain things in full detail. No question is stupid, especially if it involves patient care. I would get familiar with drips commonly used on that particular ICU. Levophed, Epi, vaso, heparin, integrillin, etc. keep detail notes, so once your on your own you can reference your notes prior to asking another RN or your charge nurse. Always ask if you can observe bedside procedures, especially those that nurses assist with, central line placement, chest tube insertion and removal, burr holes, ventri, intubation, anything and everything. As a tech I take full advantage of the observing bedside procedures and in doing so I know what supplies to pull from the supply room for certain procedures and even know how to set up a few things for certain doctors. Oh and when ever you call a dr make sure you know your stuff, recent vitals, lab results, drip rates, etc. nothing like having to put a dr on hold to look something up.