first and foremost, concentrate on nclex. when nclex has been completed, then you can start looking at familiarizing yourself with the unit's "way of life." that includes but not limited to:
drugs to be familiar with (this unit may utilize them differently than other units):
- sodium/potassium phosphorous
equipment to be familiar with:
- ventriculostomies (set up and use)
- camino bolts (set up and use)
- central lines (set up and use)
- art lines (set up and use)
- cooling blankets/lines (set up and use)
procedures performed at bedside:
- ventriculostomy placement
- camino placement
- line placement
- conscious sedation
- percutanious trach placement
- percutanious gastric tube placement
these are but a few of the things you will become familiar with over time. don't feel like you have to learn it all now. i wish someone would have told me about all the various things we do in the unit and associated equipment. find yourself a good mentor/resource person(s) and stick to them like glue. your professional development specialist (department education person) is also a fantastic resource!
the professional associations i would invest in are american association of critical care nurses (aacn) - www.aacn.org
and american association of neuroscience nurses (aann) - www.aann.org
. when you have enough experience/time, i recommend sitting for the critical care registered nurse (ccrn) (http://www.certcorp.org/certcorp/cer.../certcorp/ccrn
) and the certified neuroscience registered nurse (cnrn) (http://www.aann.org/credential/
). be as active as you can in your local chapters. they are also a good resource.
i know this seems like a lot. please don't get scared about it. you will have a blast in this unit.