new grad in the NICU

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    Hi everyone! This is my first post on allnurses and I'm excited to get feedback from fellow nurses. I am a recent grad and I got a position in a level 3 NICU. During my senior year I completed 200 hours of a leadership and today I just finished my second week of my actually orientation with my mentor in the unit. Even though I have some experience through my leadership I am still so nervous being a nurse in the unit. I feel like I will not know what to do if something went wrong or I wouldn't be able to notice a change in my patient's condition soon enough. Am I just being too harsh on myself because I'm new? I'm nervous I will never get everything. I'm on overload with information and I just started last week And to top it off I feel as if all the nurses in the unit just stare at me instead if initiating a conversation so besides my mentors I don't feel comfortable going to anyone else for help/information.
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    Give yourself time! There's an overwhelming amount of stuff to learn when you start in NICU. I transferred to NICU after 26 years of Peds & PICU experience & I felt the same way you're feeling for the first few months. It will probably take at least 6 months before you start feeling more comfortable because, in addition to learning all the skills you need for NICU, you're still learning time management & prioritization. I was fortunate because I already had those things figured out before I went to NICU.
    As far as feeling like the other nurses are just staring at you, have you tried initiating conversations with any of them?
    The one thing I can pretty much predict for you is that once you are comfortable in your role as a NICU nurse, you will find it to be one of the most rewarding jobs you've ever had!
    Last edit by poppycat on Mar 9, '13
    goshenc1 likes this.
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    Thanks for the encouragement! And yes I have tried initiating conversations with my pod partners, but they just seem to blow me off and talk to each other. Before I started there I have heard from many people that the nurses in the NICU are not very friendly and are very interested in only the other people in their cliques. During lunch break I even heard a nurse say that a respiratory student tried talking to her and this particular nurse told her "friends" in the break room that she "didn't pull that respiratory student's chain to start talking to her..and she wish the student would just leave her alone"..so it's obviously just not me that they ignore. I mean someday I will be some of these nurses only pop partner..and so I'm extremely nervous if they blow me off now they will blow me off when it comes times to an emergency situation or if I need advice/help with my infants when I'm on my own without my mentor.
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    Quote from ashleynicole0590
    Hi everyone! This is my first post on allnurses and I'm excited to get feedback from fellow nurses. I am a recent grad and I got a position in a level 3 NICU. During my senior year I completed 200 hours of a leadership and today I just finished my second week of my actually orientation with my mentor in the unit. Even though I have some experience through my leadership I am still so nervous being a nurse in the unit. I feel like I will not know what to do if something went wrong or I wouldn't be able to notice a change in my patient's condition soon enough. Am I just being too harsh on myself because I'm new? I'm nervous I will never get everything.

    Congratulations on your first job. Everyone is nervous about being a brand new nurse -- if you weren't, I'd be really worried about you. And guess what -- you WON'T know what to do in an emergency. At least not at first. That's one of the things you'll be learning in your orientation. That and how to recognize changes in your patient's condition, and how to calculate meds for neonates and millions of other things. You've chosen a difficult specialty with lots to learn. But your manager must have believed you'd be able to succeed or she wouldn't have hired you. So congratulations!


    [/QUOTE] I'm on overload with information and I just started last week And to top it off I feel as if all the nurses in the unit just stare at me instead if initiating a conversation so besides my mentors I don't feel comfortable going to anyone else for help/information.[/QUOTE]

    It's not up to the other nurses on the unit to initiate a conversation. You're the new one; it's up to you to fit in. As tough as it is -- and I know it's really tough to initiate conversations with strangers, especially when you're already stressed about being new -- the best way to fit in with your new colleagues is to gain a reputation for being friendly and approachable. That means you'll stand out among other new nurses (in a good way) if you initiate conversations with THEM. That's a great way to learn to things, get to know your new colleagues and perhaps gain another (unofficial) mentor along the way. You'll also find that the more you start conversations with others, the easiest it will be. That is the one piece of advice I wish someone had shared with me when I first started nursing. It would have made the rest of my life so much easier!.
    poppycat likes this.
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    ditto what the others said...You won't know which was is up for a long time...just be the little engine that could and you can! ICUs are a hard place for new grads. Admittedly, I've never done ICU but it took me about 6 months to be comfortable with my kiddos.

    Does your unit do get togethers for holidays or anything? That might be a good way to "connect" with others. Also see what your mentors know about the other nurses, maybe they could give you hints to what they like and you could connect that way.

    Good luck!

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    I am also a new grad in the NICU. I did my senior practicum and externed in NICU but in a different NICU then the one I was hired into. It is definitely hard, even though we have some experience. I also had the same experience with the nurses just staring at me and not being friendly at all. It does get better... I have only been working in my NICU for a few weeks now but I have noticed it is better everyday. Be friendly, initiate conversation and they will open up to you!

    As far as the patient care stuff -- noticing a change in condition, that is learned over time with experience. WE will get there! Good luck
    poppycat likes this.
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    I started as a new grad 15 months ago in the NICU and definitely know where you are coming from...I felt the same way! Just ask questions ALL the time...find the people who have a natural ability to teach and leach on to them...go to them with questions and concerns and for second opinions if you feel you need help seeing status changes on exams. I've noticed that those of us who asked questions and sought out help as new grads feel much more comfortable and have much more respect for seasoned nurses a year and some odd months later. I also work in a a teaching hospital, and while our attendings round on our patients I try to listen in as they quiz the residents and interns...try to answer in my mind what they are asking. I have found it to be invaluable to my own learning on pathophys of the neonate and it also helps me recognize areas that I need to study more...and boosts my confidence a little when I know the answers and the resident is struggling Just give it time and do the best you can
    goshenc1 and poppycat like this.
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    Congrats on your first job!
    The first one is where you learn your basics: time management, organization, attention to detail, safety ect
    I started in a mother/baby unit, worked there for 2 years then transferred to the NICU in my hospital. I definitely feel like a new grad again, so I know how you feel! There is so much info to learn! While you are on orientation ask as many questions as you need, even if you need it explained more. I made a deal with my self, that I would never be afraid to ask anything to (almost) anyone. There are definitely people who are more inclined to teach....and those people are really great at it! Find them! I also tried to do a little bit of reading every day, rather than marathons. I bought 2 NICU books are references for home reading. Now, Im almost done with orientation and I really do feel ready and excited!
    I also introduced my self to everyone: residents, attendings, respiratory techs, secretaries, supply personel and cleaning techs....literally everyone. You never know who can help you with what and its very important to make really good first impressions.
    Good luck fellow newbie! you are going to be awesome!
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    first, congrats! I just started in the NICU as well and I have the same feeling! Most of the staff is hard to go to because they always talk to each other and act like i'm not even there. My preceptor does that at times as well, and sometimes I feel like I can't talk to her, yikes. I've overheard her saying she gets the harder assignments "all because I have this orientee". not the thing you want to hear

    How do you get past that feeling? my preceptor and charge nurse said it seems like I don't want to be there, it's the opposite, i do want to be there, I just feel overwhelmed and like they think I should know more then I do. How do you get them to see you want this so bad? Have things gotten any better for you?? any advice?


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