Should I leave the ICU?

  1. I am currently working in an ICU. I have had enough!!
    I left work this morning practically in tears .
    I cannot believe the way they have been treating me.
    Last week, I made my first boo boo. I have been in nursing for two years and 1 year in the ICU. Anyways, I get a fresh post-op who had a very long back surgery. Her dressing went from about T3-lumbar region, her dressing covered her whole back. As soon as she came to me, on a PCA pump, she was complaining of pain so I encouraged her to use the PCA. When I turned her to look at the dressing, she screamed out in pain but I was able to take a good look at the dressing noting that it was dry and intact. I never rolled her to the other side since I was able to look at that one side and see the whole dressing.
    Anyways, I never got in report or did I ever see a hemovac. I did what I was suppose to do but somehow missed it. Apparantly what happened is that the dressing was so long that the tube for the drain went up the dressing towards her nape and sat behind her shoulder area, she had long hair, where I could not see it. BOy, did the day nurse find it, though.
    This is my first error and the charge nurses are treating me like I am incompetent not beleiving me when I tell them that I turned the pt to inspect the dressing. Last night when I worked, the charge nurse was on my back like a wolf. Not even believing me when I told her that I zeroed the bed for the new pt coming in. Questioning me because she didnt see a pillow on the bed. UNREAL!! She even went up to a co worker (thank god a friend) to question my work ethic and told her to keep an eye on me. They are making me feel incompetent which I know I am not. I have always been very careful but this was an unfortunate thing that was overlooked which they are blowing way out of proportion.
    I have always liked Home Health and I think that this situation has helped me make my mind up that ICU nursing is not for me.
    I have an interview tommorrow with an agency.
    I just hope the hospital I work for wont bad mouth me!:angryfire

    This situation is stressing me out so much that I cannot even sleep at night or eat.
    Advice??
    Diana
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   Darchild77
    I know how you feel, it seems as though everyone onthe planet has heard about your mistakes, and you truly wonder if you are in the wrong place. I've faced these questions myself on the L+D unit-it seems as though every mistake is blown out on proportion,and announced to the world. I say hang in there!! It may take awhile, but you will come to trust your skills and have confidence to blow off condiscending remarks(such as a nurse asking if I even looked at my patient). You do belong, and it will get better, just trust in your self and put your self in a scrutinizing nurse's shoes: catch any minor thing yourself, before she does.
  4. by   MarkHammerschmidt
    Hi Diana - as a certified old, grey, battle-ax ICU nurse, let me throw in my two cents. A while back a coworker of mine made a med error: she miscalculated the drip rate of an infusion. The patient became immediately symptomatic, and the nurse realized what she had done and fixed it right away, but it was quite scary, and of course the story whipped around the unit like they always do. I talked it over with her a few days later - she told me she was ready to quit. She's an excellent nurse - here's how I tried to talk her out of leaving:

    First off: what kind of nurse would you be if you didn't feel bad about having made an error?

    This is actually an important point for you in your ICU practice. The point is, and this is what I told my friend: you can't become a veteran without having gotten a few wounds in battle. Nor can you omit certain things - like making your postop patient completely naked, briefly, and looking at absolutely everything going into, out of, or that's connected to her.

    Some lessons you learn the hard way. Here's the secret: EVERYONE, without exception, does that. The hardass nurses just did them a long time ago...and if they're mean, they'll just make you feel like crap. There's a lot of that in nursing.

    My stepfather was in the Pacific War, and he used to say that there were two kinds of soldiers - the ones who'd been in combat, and the ones who hadn't. But there's no way to get from newbie to veteran without going through tough experiences: you have to actually traverse that distance, and it changes you: it makes you cautious, careful, wary. And much stronger. That's exactly the way you want to be in the unit.

    Here's the other thing: get right back on that horse. If you allow yourself to stay thrown, you'll never learn to ride right.
  5. by   canoehead
    EVERYONE makes mistakes, some people are just better at covering them up. To me, that mistake doesn't sound like it's worth talking about for a week. Think about all the mistakes the residents and docs make- and no one has kicked them out yet. If you like your job hang in there, and they will have someone new to talk about any time now.
  6. by   heart queen
    When I make mistakes, and YES, years into an ICU I still do, I do write them up. I do talk about them, out loud... first to the charge nurse, If not me.. then to the biggest gossip. Who cares? Me and my patient... let the other nurses learn from the boo boos. If I'm talking about them, what do the others have to talk about.. something jucier elsewhere.

    If you hear it being brought up, chime in.. "Can you believe I didn't check her right side thoroughly? What the heck was I thinkin'. Never do THAT again". Make direct eye contact, walk away. Sometimes peers have a way of stuffing ownership down each others throats before realizing the person was full, way before the second course.

    Don't forget, only two years in.. you still have baby skin
  7. by   rainey
    sometimes the nurses most critical of the "newbie" is just completely unsure of themselves.
  8. by   Nurse Nicki
    Remember that no one is perfect! All we can do is our best! Makes it difficult to know everything about a fresh post-op when you don't get complete report from the transferring nurse. Usually they us a post op form that indicates drains, IV access sites, and recent meds given. You are not completely at fault. You can use this experience as a learning tool for next time. Don't give up! Some nurses, especially the one that our ready to retire, like to throw their weight around. Funny thing is..their the ones who are having a confidence issue and want others to join them. Keep you chin up and don't give up!
  9. by   surferssoulmate
    I couldn't agree more; some of the loudest, most critical nurses are the ones that feel the most inadequate. Sometimes they'll spout off at you to take focus off them. I'll never understand why nurses treat their own so poorly. Doesn't it make more sense to bring it to your attention instead of everyone else's? She could've taught you something instead of harrassing you about it. To me, she's the one that looks bad...

    I know it's easier said than done, but hang in there!
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from MarkHammerschmidt
    Hi Diana - as a certified old, grey, battle-ax ICU nurse, let me throw in my two cents. A while back a coworker of mine made a med error: she miscalculated the drip rate of an infusion. The patient became immediately symptomatic, and the nurse realized what she had done and fixed it right away, but it was quite scary, and of course the story whipped around the unit like they always do. I talked it over with her a few days later - she told me she was ready to quit. She's an excellent nurse - here's how I tried to talk her out of leaving:

    First off: what kind of nurse would you be if you didn't feel bad about having made an error?

    This is actually an important point for you in your ICU practice. The point is, and this is what I told my friend: you can't become a veteran without having gotten a few wounds in battle. Nor can you omit certain things - like making your postop patient completely naked, briefly, and looking at absolutely everything going into, out of, or that's connected to her.

    Some lessons you learn the hard way. Here's the secret: EVERYONE, without exception, does that. The hardass nurses just did them a long time ago...and if they're mean, they'll just make you feel like crap. There's a lot of that in nursing.

    My stepfather was in the Pacific War, and he used to say that there were two kinds of soldiers - the ones who'd been in combat, and the ones who hadn't. But there's no way to get from newbie to veteran without going through tough experiences: you have to actually traverse that distance, and it changes you: it makes you cautious, careful, wary. And much stronger. That's exactly the way you want to be in the unit.

    Here's the other thing: get right back on that horse. If you allow yourself to stay thrown, you'll never learn to ride right.
    Wonderful post, MarkHammerschmidt.
  11. by   Surgical Hrt RN
    having been an icu nurse for over 5 years i can honestly say that i do not know it all, and anyone that tries to act like they do is full of you know what. i love icu and can't picture me working any place else. i think your co-worker's behavior was unprofessional. you should be made to feel comfortable and supported. you did nothing that harmed the patient. i have seen nurses with more experience do far worse. don't let a few people trash your dream and calling. it will get better. it's just part of the crazy game called icu.
  12. by   Havin' A Party!
    Diana -- You've gotten great advice. Learn the lesson, then move on.

    You're a better, more professional nurse for that experience.

    All the best!
  13. by   moia
    Any ICU nurse that discusses your work with any co worker in a negative way needs to have her butt whipped......you need to suck it up and approach the cow and walk her into a private room and tell if she ever pulls that crap again you will report her ...
    ICU nurses can be really evil...I have been in ICU a long time and I have seen some real monsters...almost to a one they were really crappy nurses but they had a big mouth and intimidated the hell out of people so everyone is too scared to call them on their incompetence.
    Call them on it immediantly...I advise every newbie to step on the neck of any nurse that behaves inappropriately and aggressively towards them..it's part of my mentoring and precepting...I make sure they listen to the good nurses and ignore the idiots and they shove the rude ones into a room and give them a quick orientation on how they will behave.
  14. by   llg
    Quote from MarkHammerschmidt
    \

    First off: what kind of nurse would you be if you didn't feel bad about having made an error?

    This is actually an important point for you in your ICU practice. The point is, and this is what I told my friend: you can't become a veteran without having gotten a few wounds in battle. Nor can you omit certain things - like making your postop patient completely naked, briefly, and looking at absolutely everything going into, out of, or that's connected to her.

    Some lessons you learn the hard way. Here's the secret: EVERYONE, without exception, does that. The hardass nurses just did them a long time ago...and if they're mean, they'll just make you feel like crap. There's a lot of that in nursing.

    My stepfather was in the Pacific War, and he used to say that there were two kinds of soldiers - the ones who'd been in combat, and the ones who hadn't. But there's no way to get from newbie to veteran without going through tough experiences: you have to actually traverse that distance, and it changes you: it makes you cautious, careful, wary. And much stronger. That's exactly the way you want to be in the unit.

    Here's the other thing: get right back on that horse. If you allow yourself to stay thrown, you'll never learn to ride right.
    I loved this post -- particularly the line about acquiring some scars. In fact, I'll probably use that line with someone myself, someday.

    Thanks,
    llg

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