New in ICU

  1. 0
    To begin, thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say!

    I am a new grad in a trauma/transplant ICU level 1. I was an aide on the floor before I became a RN (completely different! My orientation was 12 weeks and I have been on my own for about a month and a half. I am taking the "stable" patients and I feel like my coworkers are great at making sure that I have an assignment that is appropriate.

    I no longer feel like I am going to vomit when I walk into work but am still nervous and know that I have a lot to learn. Like others have posted, I feel like my confidence level is down the drain. I work night shifts and I try to not think of work when I am home but I seem to constantly ask myself if I am doing the right thing (working in the right place). Sometimes I feel more depressed about what I am doing right now, I don't think anything could have prepared me for the transition from nursing school into the real world. I have been doing more of what I want to do on my days off, thank goodness! Sometimes I think I'm crazy for having these thoughts because of the amazing opportunity to work in an ICU and that I already know everyone I work with. I will switch to days whenever the opportunity arises but I also know that will not suddenly fix everything.

    I guess what I am asking for is advice and reassurance! Most days are better than others but when I am feeling discouraged it is an extremely low feeling ( I admit that I am an emotional person! Good and bad...)
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I believe in you:bowingpur in the words of a famous man "YOU CAN DO IT!!!! YOU CAN DO IT ALLLLLLL NIGGGGGHTTTT LOOOOONNNGGGG"
  5. 0
    I am a new grad in a trauma/transplant ICU level 1. I was an aide on the floor before I became a RN (completely different! My orientation was 12 weeks and I have been on my own for about a month and a half. I am taking the "stable" patients and I feel like my coworkers are great at making sure that I have an assignment that is appropriate.

    I no longer feel like I am going to vomit when I walk into work but am still nervous and know that I have a lot to learn. Like others have posted, I feel like my confidence level is down the drain. I work night shifts and I try to not think of work when I am home but I seem to constantly ask myself if I am doing the right thing (working in the right place). Sometimes I feel more depressed about what I am doing right now, I don't think anything could have prepared me for the transition from nursing school into the real world. I have been doing more of what I want to do on my days off, thank goodness! Sometimes I think I'm crazy for having these thoughts because of the amazing opportunity to work in an ICU and that I already know everyone I work with. I will switch to days whenever the opportunity arises but I also know that will not suddenly fix everything.

    I guess what I am asking for is advice and reassurance! Most days are better than others but when I am feeling discouraged it is extremely low.
  6. 0
    it will take you a year or so to where you aren't panicked going into work and worrying that you totally missed something and nearly killed your pt when you leave work. as you have more days that things dont go totally ape ****, and you learn what to do when it does happen, the worry starts to lessen.

    there will always be things to learn, but stick with it...it will get better!
  7. 0
    Quote from KosmoKramer
    I will switch to days whenever the opportunity arises but I also know that will not suddenly fix everything.
    Have you ever worked nights before? I know that the first year of nursing is tough for new grads no matter the shift or floor, but I wonder if the fact that so many work nights makes it even harder. Yes, nights are considered better for learning without the interruptions of visitors, procedures, etc... but messing with our sleep schedules surely messes with our moods, as well!

    I don't really have any advice; I plan to be in your shoes in a few months. I hope to get a new grad position in ICU, and am expecting it to be nights, of course. I just wanted to say that I hear you! And people can tell you "it's normal" a thousand times, but I know that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to get through. Just know that we are here for you to vent whenever you need it. Good luck and keep up the good work.
  8. 1
    I've been a nurse for 3 years. Did my first year in med/surg/"floor" nursing, second in a ICU step down, and am now 1 year down in a fast-paced trauma/surgical ICU of a major university teaching hospital. My first year of nursing, although not done in ICU, was full of anxiety and dreading work. I often questioned if I was in the right profession. I kept thinking "is this what I went to college for?" It has gotten vastly better. I think around a year and a half of nursing in general (regardless of where you work) is about the right amount of time to get comfortable and feel confident. The change to ICU wasn't difficult at all. Therefore, I think it may not be the setting which is causing your moods. I also work nights and love it.

    My advice: hang in there. Ask questions. Don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something, but challenge yourself to think critically before you do. Also, look up stuff you don't understand when you go home. When I first started in ICU, I took home the general report sheets and would highlight and look up procedures and meds I wasn't familiar with. You can't become confident in your practice if you don't understand stuff. Best wishes!
    hilife_RN likes this.
  9. 0
    I agree with Bec7074. Hang in there. The learning curve is/will be high, especially that you were an aide first, then became an ICU nurse right away (based on your original post). It's normal to feel the ups and downs. Don't dwell/focus on the "downs" because it will stress you out even more. Just learn from the experience. Look up things if you don't understand it, so that you can readily apply it the next time you come to work. It's all about preparation and knowing your stuff because that will give you the confidence. Also, use your resources for assistance, which is your senior nurses. Good luck!
  10. 0
    I have been in ICU for just over a year. I feel confident I know what I am doing probably something like 90% of the time. There is always that uncertainty when doing something unfamiliar. Hang in there, it gets better. You just keep learning new things everyday, and it will get easier and easier. It helps if you are in a good unit with a lot of support. I work in a small ICU (6 beds) and we have a pretty tight knit team who supports each other. That makes a huge difference.
  11. 3
    even though my first year of nursing was over three decades ago, i remember it vividly. it sucked! i constantly questioned myself -- whether i was doing the right thing for my patients, my husband and myself. i was unsure of myself and often cried all the to work -- or home from work. even though i didn't have to work nights that first year (back in the days of 8 hour shifts), my sleep suffered because i could never put my mind to sleep. i worried constantly.

    the first year of nursing is like that, and the only way to get through it is to go through it. so go through it, secure in the knowledge that you're not the only one. good luck!
  12. 2
    Well, I've been ICU nursing now for 12 years. I still remember my first year. I remember thinking I was insane for doing this, that the hospital was insane for hiring me. I cried.....a lot!!! I worried, stressed and somehow got through it.

    You are not alone, we have all been there, or are there now. Nothing lasts forever . Hang in there, keep going forward!
    HopingICU and OnlybyHisgraceRN like this.


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