New to ICU

  1. I am a new RN grad, although I've been an LPN almost a year. I started in the ICU so I could do "real nursing" not just throw pills at 7 patients a shift on the floor. In school, I was always the smart one, but after a few shifts in the ICU (It's combined trauma, SICU, MICU, CVICU) I feel like a dunce. Will you experienced nurses give me some advice on mistakes you made (so I can avoid them) and any advice?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   TraumaNurse
    First, don't be so hard on yourself. If you were a new grad in the ICU and felt like you knew everything, that would be scary. ICU is NOTHING like nursing school! Now that you are an RN, you will really start to learn. Nursing school is a joke! The newbies that accept they have a huge learning curve and are willing to work at it usually do very well. The key is to read a lot, take as many courses and certifications as you can and tap into the knowledge of those experienced nurses that are willing to share their knowledge. Not all nurses/ docs are easy to learn from, you just have to find the ones who like to teach and are willing. Also, don't buy in to all the negativity that you will hear from other staff. A good, positive attitude will go a long way! BE A SPONGE! Best of luck.
  4. by   lesjen
    Quote from Mayflye
    I am a new RN grad, although I've been an LPN almost a year. I started in the ICU so I could do "real nursing" not just throw pills at 7 patients a shift on the floor. In school, I was always the smart one, but after a few shifts in the ICU (It's combined trauma, SICU, MICU, CVICU) I feel like a dunce. Will you experienced nurses give me some advice on mistakes you made (so I can avoid them) and any advice?
    Hi, I am new to this site so forgive me if I screw something up! (I will try not to feel like a dunce ) I have been in critical care for the past 9 years and I still feel clueless at times. I have never stopped asking questions, bouncing my thoughts off of more seasoned nurses, or stopping to look information up if I dont have the answer. I found that the thing that helped me the most, a tip from my first preceptor 9 years ago, is to keep my thoughts organized by system. I still make a report sheet for myself that goes down the line....neuro, cv, pulm, gi, gu, id, endo, psych, iv, etc.... It keeps me focused and on the right track during my assessments and communications with other staff. Also, those mistakes that you make...you never make the same one again...it is a way we learn. Hang in there and find those nurses who you trust to help you out with a helpful attitude...they will be your best resource.
    Good luck!
  5. by   lesjen
    Quote from Mayflye
    I am a new RN grad, although I've been an LPN almost a year. I started in the ICU so I could do "real nursing" not just throw pills at 7 patients a shift on the floor. In school, I was always the smart one, but after a few shifts in the ICU (It's combined trauma, SICU, MICU, CVICU) I feel like a dunce. Will you experienced nurses give me some advice on mistakes you made (so I can avoid them) and any advice?
    One more thing....I worked for 6 years in the Phoenix area....Chandler Regional...where are you working?
  6. by   Mayflye
    Quote from lesjen
    One more thing....I worked for 6 years in the Phoenix area....Chandler Regional...where are you working?
    I'm at Scottsdale Osborn (but I've done registry at Chandler in couplet care)

    Amy
  7. by   kc ccurn
    Quote from Mayflye
    I am a new RN grad, although I've been an LPN almost a year. I started in the ICU so I could do "real nursing" not just throw pills at 7 patients a shift on the floor. In school, I was always the smart one, but after a few shifts in the ICU (It's combined trauma, SICU, MICU, CVICU) I feel like a dunce. Will you experienced nurses give me some advice on mistakes you made (so I can avoid them) and any advice?

    I started out as a new grad in ICU as well, and many times I asked myself "did I learn this in nursing school?" Give yourself a break, don't be afraid to ask questions. An earlier poster mentioned report sheet by systems. that's how I like to do my assessments, from head to toe, down and out (I do my neuro assessment then cardio, pulm, gi, gu, pulses then assess IV sites, pumps fluids, monitor alarms.) If you develop a thorough routine of assessment, you'll get better and it will come naturally for you. When I give report I go system by system as well, it helps me to stay organized.
  8. by   EmeraldNYL
    I just started as a new grad in a MICU in Oct. so I know how you feel!! I just go home and read about everything new I saw that day. And don't be afraid to ask lots of questions!! Does your hospital have a critical care course? I agree, nursing school is total B.S. I learned more in the ICU my first month then I learned in all of nursing school. Many, many people have told me "If you can work in an ICU, you can work ANYWHERE".
  9. by   rstewart
    Quote from EmeraldNYL
    Many, many people have told me "If you can work in an ICU, you can work ANYWHERE".

    I am a fairly experienced ICU nurse and I would have to disagree with this statement. Working on today's med-surg units presents tremendous challenges both in terms of numbers of patients and acuities. How those nurses accomplish what they do on a daily basis amazes me-----I would turn into a stark raving lunatic.

    Don't believe me? lol ....Try it for a while.
  10. by   kc ccurn
    Quote from rstewart
    I am a fairly experienced ICU nurse and I would have to disagree with this statement. Working on today's med-surg units presents tremendous challenges both in terms of numbers of patients and acuities. How those nurses accomplish what they do on a daily basis amazes me-----I would turn into a stark raving lunatic.

    Don't believe me? lol ....Try it for a while.


    I agree completely with you rstewart. I would much rather take care of 2 really sick pts then 10-13 floor pts. I am amazed what they do.
  11. by   EmeraldNYL
    Oh geez, I never meant for this to become a discussion of med-surg nurses vs. ICU nurses. I know med-surg nurses have a hard job, and no, I wouldn't want to do it either. The reason people say "If you can work in an ICU, you can work anywhere" is because the ICU environment is often a springboard for other areas and careers in nursing. People from my ICU have gone into research, dialysis nursing, CRNA school, NP school, management, cath lab, pain management, etc.... You learn a lot and see a lot in an ICU that gives you great experience if you want to expand your nursing career. That's all, please lets not turn this into a "my job is harder then your job" debate.
  12. by   kc ccurn
    Quote from EmeraldNYL
    Oh geez, I never meant for this to become a discussion of med-surg nurses vs. ICU nurses. I know med-surg nurses have a hard job, and no, I wouldn't want to do it either. The reason people say "If you can work in an ICU, you can work anywhere" is because the ICU environment is often a springboard for other areas and careers in nursing. People from my ICU have gone into research, dialysis nursing, CRNA school, NP school, management, cath lab, pain management, etc.... You learn a lot and see a lot in an ICU that gives you great experience if you want to expand your nursing career. That's all, please lets not turn this into a "my job is harder then your job" debate.

    I wouldn't worry about it Emerald, I didn't read it as if you were trying to make a debate of an issue. You have some good thoughts about opportunities that are available.
  13. by   RN't-I-Cute
    Quote from lesjen
    Hang in there and find those nurses who you trust to help you out with a helpful attitude...they will be your best resource.
    Good luck!
    I agree with lesjen. I too am new to the ICU, SICU to be exact. I am fortunate enough to have a few helpful nurses with whom I work who do not mind sharing their knowledge with me. They truly are some of the best resource you can find out there
  14. by   booyah
    Iknow you might be nervous and intimidated but just get in there. Don't just sit back and watch. Take the difficult patients If a situation arises with your pt. or someone elses jump in there and do. The more you get your hands on the more you learn. Ask and ask questions.
    Quote from Mayflye
    I am a new RN grad, although I've been an LPN almost a year. I started in the ICU so I could do "real nursing" not just throw pills at 7 patients a shift on the floor. In school, I was always the smart one, but after a few shifts in the ICU (It's combined trauma, SICU, MICU, CVICU) I feel like a dunce. Will you experienced nurses give me some advice on mistakes you made (so I can avoid them) and any advice?

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