New NICU nurse in training. Excited, yet overwhelmed!

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    Hi everyone. I have been reading here for the past few weeks. I have been orienting in a level III NICU for about 5 weeks now. Some days I feel great, like I am progressing and starting to get it, and other days (like today) I wonder how I will ever be competent to work here!

    Today, everything that could have gone wrong did, IV infiltrated, took me forever to finally get a new one in, which put me behind. I had another baby on a pump feeding and when I went to go check on them after inserting the iv, they had pulled their NG tube out and the feeding was being delivered to the bed! Among lots of other minor, but annoying glitches throughout the day. Then while I was giving report I had a nurse who does have a reputation to nit pick your report. She questioned me the entire way through, I could barely tell her one bit of information without a barrage of questions of "why" and "do you know the reason behind that" among others. My preceptor is wonderful, I should add. She did help me the whole day.

    For all of you experienced NICU nurses, is this normal to feel so overwhelmed at times? I sometimes feel like I can't get out of my own way. Other days, are great and I feel so proud of how I handled the patient assignment.

    I look forward to reading/posting here in the future
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  4. 5 Comments so far...

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    I'm not an experienced nurse by any means...but I just finished a new grad orientation in the NICU in November and I can tell you that's exactly how I felt, and still feel sometimes. I'll let others give advice but I just wanted you to know you're not alone .
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    Quote from elliern88

    For all of you experienced NICU nurses, is this normal to feel so overwhelmed at times?
    Yes.
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    I feel the same way too. I am an experienced OB nurse (L&D, mother/baby) and am on wk 8 of orientation on a Level 3 NICU and am having the same experiences. However, one of my preceptors is really hard on me and gets angry often and it is really so difficult some days that I want to cry (and I don't cry easily). For example, she was angry that when starting an IV I got it, but then blew it. I'm hoping it will get better for both of us!
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    Her silly, misplaced anger is not a reflection on how well you're doing. Once you've been there a while, you should really let them know about her anger issues and how inappropriate it is to use her as a preceptor.

    Preceptor to new NICU nurses is one of the most important jobs in the unit. For them to allow this old (or young) biddy to risk running off an experienced nurse is just idiotic on the management's part...and I don't even care how good of a NICU nurse she may be.
    Last edit by Bortaz, RN on Feb 8, '12
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    I wouldn't say that I'm experienced, but I've been in NICU for more than a year (although it's over a span of several years and several jobs).But everyone has those days, it's just the nature of our job. It sounds like you did a great job and persevered. And your best learning experiences come from days like this. I bet you'll be twice as diligent about monitoring your IVs and tube feeds and you won't have something like that happen again for quite a while. As far as the nit picky report taker, there's one of those every where. But you'll also see as time progresses that you'll be able to answer many, if not all, of her questions. It may be annoying, but she's providing you with a good learning experience. Make note of those questions she asked you and go home and look up the answer. That way you'll no the rationale behind your daily activities.And, finally, at the end of the day it shows that you are a good nurse because you are reflecting on your day and thinking about what you can do to improve.Hope this helps. Good luck.
    prplscrubs likes this.


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