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!