New to the PICU

  1. hi! i just wanted to introduce myself. i'm starting a new grad program in february at phoenix children's hospital in the PICU. they have the 2nd largest PICU in the country--3 pods, hemeonc, cardiac, and general PICU. i'm really nervous but extremely excited to be a part of the PICU team. i wouldn't want to work anywhere else and i think the experience and expertise will prove to be invaluable. anyway, it's nice to meet you all and if you have any words of wisdom/advice, i'd love if you would share.

    yay PICU nursing!!!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   AliRae
    Quote from jamonit
    yay PICU nursing!!!
    Yay for PICU, and yay for you being a new grad going straight there! I did the same thing about 15 months ago, and I've never regretted it for a day. I work in a 20-bed unit in central Jersey. We've just started a cardiac program, so we're doing baby open hearts and we have our own cath lab now. I wouldn't say that I have much expertise to share, but I do have the perspective of a former new grad, so I'll share that. =)

    Don't be afraid to ask questions. Learn when to say "I'm not comfortable doing that" - it's better to ask for help than to do it wrong or do something to hurt a kiddo. Admit your mistakes. Not only does honesty earn you respect, but others will most likely end up learning from your stumble. Watch your preceptor, but don't feel like you need to do everything exactly the same way. Look around- look how the experienced nurses organize themselves and perform tasks, and form your own hybrid system. Once you make your first med error, stop and breathe. It was pretty much bound to happen, and now you're past it and you can stop dreading it.

    Write things down, especially when they're good things. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the magnitude of what you have to learn, so hold on to the moments when you can think "YES. This is my calling, and this is why I do this job." I'll never forget the mother of my patient on my very first day off orientation. We were chatting, and she looked at me and said "I can tell you love your job. You're doing what you should be doing." I held onto that with both hands when I got into a fight with the attending later that day about my other kid, and was able to stand my ground and do the right thing for my patient. Be proud of yourself when you do things well.

    Have something other than nursing that you love to do. Whether it's music or swimming or paint-by-number, you need something on the other end of the spectrum to keep you balanced. Leave work at work. It's so easy to dwell on things, but after your 12 hours are over, it's best to leave it at the door until you're back on the clock. (I'm bad at this, so my policy is that I'm allowed to think and cry while I'm driving home, but for me it has to stay in the car.)

    Stop. Breathe. Smile. Hold your head high. You've just joined what I feel is one of the most important professions out there today ... Welcome! Make sure you check back and let us know how it's going!
  4. by   jamonit
    thank you so much, alirae! i'm really excited about it, and reading your post made me feel like i could handle being a newbie on the picu block. i graduate from nursing school in 3 weeks and then take nclex, and have my orientation on feb. 12th at the hospital. i'll be sure to let you know how things go!

    again, i appreciate your wisdom, sharing of your experiences and support!
  5. by   seychgo
    Good advice... I am a new grad starting in the PICU in a week... I am so nervous.

    Thanks,
    Stefanie
  6. by   jamonit
    hey seychgo!

    i start on the 12th of feb. we gotta keep in touch and compare notes/experiences. i'm nervous too, but we'll get through it.

    :spin:
  7. by   AliRae
    16th of Feb makes it a year since I've been off orientation. What a difference a year makes...

    You gals are going to do great!
  8. by   smb_ped
    Hey jamonit and seychgo! I'm also a new grad starting in the PICU this week. Took Nclex on last Thursday and unofficially I passed!! Good luck to you ladies!

    I'm so nervous...
  9. by   LuvU2RN
    Hello everyone!!

    I start in the PICU on Monday...nice to hear there are others going through the same nerves!! Would love to keep in touch and compare notes!

    Good Luck Everyone!
  10. by   climberrn
    So how're the newbies doing? I'm late to the party but wanted to say welcome! Love PICU, been doing it 7 years...for me it's the best discipline ever. Hope your orientations are going well.
  11. by   PICUmaleNurse
    Welcome to the world of PICU!

  12. by   AliRae
    Just yesterday I got officially replaced at work! The next new grad started orientation, and I'm no longer the new kid on the block. In fact, I was precepting another new hire for the day! How are all of you doing in your new PICU roles? Loving it yet?
  13. by   jamonit
    hey everyone!

    i love the picu. there is absolutely no other place i'd rather be. it's sad some days and at times i feel completely out of my league, but i'm still learning and my skills and knowledge are growing. i love that there's so much change and variety involved. kids on ECMO, teenagers with VSD repairs, post-kidney transplants. it's so exciting.

    i take PALS this week. it's not that bad, right?
  14. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Quote from jamonit
    i take PALS this week. it's not that bad, right?
    Well, if you overlook the change in passing the exam part! Used to be that the instructors could "remediate" you if you had problems with parts of the exam, but not any more. If you don't know the stuff cold, you don't pass. But it's really good stuff to know anyway so I'd suggest finding a way to memorize drug dosages and algorhithms. You'll have a lot of time to practice the hands-on part (the fun part!) during the course, but if you can't recall that the dose for epi is 0.01 mg of 1:10,000 per kg or that the dose for cardioversion is 0.5 to 1 joule per kg for the first shock then you're toast. In a real, hospital-based code, you'll have all sorts of resources, like your code drugs sheet, but for the exam you're on your own, baby! Study, study, study and you'll be fine.

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