New ICU Nurse

  1. 0
    Well hello everyone

    I am a new ICU nurse. I work in a small ICU in the middle of nowhere! I was originally scheduled to be on orientation for a total of 4-6 months in the ICU, and unfortunately, I was only on orientation for barely two months. Yesterday was my fourth day being in the ICU on my own. While on orientation, I got amazing reviews from my preceptor and other nurses..but now..
    I feel overwhelmed . I ask tons of questions to the other nurses and when I go home I feel like I could have done better. It is definitely not easy and I know I am being hard on myself. I go home everyday and study stuff that I need to become familiar with.

    Is this an okay feeling? When did you guys start feeling comfortable? I'm making stupid mistakes just because I feel overwhelmed. Last night I drew blood from the PICC with the TPN running so lab called me to let me know my patients glucose was 600!! Stupid mistakes like this! Is this normal? Does everyone feel overwhelmed at first?

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  3. 12 Comments...

  4. 0
    You'll be okay. I just started working in a small community hospital ICU also. It is perfectly normal to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
  5. 1
    Yes, this is perfectly normal and it will take about 6 months before you feel much better and it takes years to really feel confident in what you are doing. And little things like forgetting to pause the TPN when drawing labs happens to all of us, regardless of how long we've worked. If you're reviewing stuff at home, that will help you feel more comfortable faster. And we all ask a lot of questions. I still ask a ton of questions at work, just because I like to know how other people do things, in case they have a better way than the one I know. It isn't expected that you will leave the end of your shift with everything perfect, you're new! You just need to focus on leaving the end of your shift with all of your meds given, all of your labs drawn, and your patient in a stable condition, or if not, that you've notified the appropriate people of any changes or issues. I don't expect the new people in my unit to do more than that. The "extra" stuff comes with time and experience. It sounds like you're doing great with limited orientation, so just keep at it and before you know it you'll have been there 5 years
    tytta73 likes this.
  6. 0
    Hi newnurse,
    Not to worry. You will be fine soon. I am in the middle of nowhere tho I have worked in a nine and thirteen story building. Two helicopters also. You have TPN and Picc lines and ICU so you are not such a small hospital. I have to kick the damn wildlife out of the driveway to enter my current hospital. You can see video after video on or or or
    It took me 4-5 years to feel comfortable as a nurse. There was no orientation and constantly float to a different department. In the ER it was 16 years before I treated a snake bite. It was 19 years before I saw a open/compound fracture.
    Good luck.............
  7. 0
    Thanks everyone for all your replies! It definitely makes me feel better to know that these are all mistakes I can learn by! I will keep studying and hopefully be comfortable in 5 years!! )
  8. 1
    icufaq' great resource. Yes everyone feel overwhelmed and it will take you drew the lab wrong....thank goodness you didn't treat that sugar. It takes about a year. Actually, it is harder in a small hospital because your resources are small. Take a deep breath and think it out before acting...have faith you'll get there......Good Luck!!!!
    crichards00 likes this.
  9. 0
    Omg!!! I know how you feel... I was a graduate nurse fresh out of nursing school when I started in my position of RN in the ICU... It was frustrating n I left ALWAYS feeling like I could have done better!!! It has taken me 4 years to become somewhat comfortable in my shoes... I have to say not a shift goes by that I don't learn something new... Give yourself a break, when you feel overwhelmed take a step back, take a deep breath n clear your mind... Then go back n reevaluate the situation... Hang in there... It takes time - A LOT of time to feel somewhat confident n comfortable in your position.
  10. 0
    You make mistakes, learn from them. And when you're not sure, you ask! It'll take at least a year to be comfortable. And you'll have your co-workers with you as resource.
  11. 0
    You are not alone I remember doing the same thing. The lab called and my patient's blood sugar was 700 or more I forgot to stop the TPN. I was on orientation in the ICU. I was terrified and I have been a nurse for 8 years. It has been 9 months and each day gets better you gain more confidence each month. My coworkers said it takes a year. You will be fine, but never hesitate to ask question.
  12. 0
    Everyone makes mistakes and you'll probably never make that mistake again. I probably spend 1/4 of my time at work in the icu where I received no orientation to work in. I ask questions all the time. Better to ask and keep your patient safe :-)

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