It will get better...right?

  1. Hi all,

    I graduated from nursing school in June and the following Monday, I started in the Cardiothoracic ICU. I get off orientation next weekend. The orientation for the new grads has been great. We've going through skills labs..had case studies..had classes each week..and we even have a full test date with skills and 3 written tests. They have really prepared us.

    But, I'm still very nervous! I feel SOO dumb at's like..what did I learn in nursing school?? I've been told it takes ATLEAST a year before I will be able to breathe normal..and even never stop learning and doing. But, I just feel a little off when it comes to the doctor's rounding and helping them with bedside procedures such as insertion of Swans..or intubations/trachs. I've gotten good reviews from my preceptors and everyone (including my nurse educator) has told me I'm too hard on myself and that I can't compare my 3 months of experience with someone who has 1 or 2 years of experience.

    I still have SOOO much to learn and while i don't feel overwhelmed yet..I do feel stressed. We've rotated through day and night shifts (I'm on my 2nd go-round with days) and I'll be nights for good starting in October. I feel less stressed at night. Still stressed...but not as much.

    I just need assurance that it will get better...right??
  2. Visit Lovelymo79 profile page

    About Lovelymo79, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '04; Posts: 916; Likes: 198
    Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit Charge Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in CTICU/CVICU


  3. by   tri-rn
    It will get better, but it will take time. So give yourself the time
  4. by   Lovelymo79
    Thanks. I'm
  5. by   hvnsnt234

    Im considering applying to scott and white and read in one of your earlier threads about you working there. I just passed my boards and wanted to do the icu there? I was wondering how you feel about scott and white honestly and the inside details?
  6. by   nerdtonurse?
    All I can share is that for the first 6 months as a nurse, I felt like I was 30 seconds away from killing everyone I touched. The second six months, I felt like most of them had a shot at surviving the shift. At the end of 3 years, I felt like I could pretty much handle whatever hit the door on our telemetry unit. So then I went to ICU. Bang! Back to feeling like I was the most dangerous nurse in the place, I didn't know enough, etc. Now, more than a year on, I feel like I can cautiously handle most of the stuff that happens at our shop -- now, am I ready for an Emory, Duke, MCV, Johns Hopkins ICU? Of course not, if I went to that level of criticality, I'd feel like a newbie all over again.

    But that's what's great about nursing. You can always reinvent yourself by doing something different. I recommend the ICU Book, and the CCRN study guide -- they help fill in the blanks for the things you don't see all the time. We won't have an A line for 4 weeks, and then we'll have half the people in the unit on them (I'm in a small rural ICU). It's good to have as a resource in the locker for when weird stuff hits the door.
  7. by   CCRNDiva
    Give yourself time. I also started in the unit as a new grad and it takes time to feel comfortable. Once you've been exposed to more patients and illnesses you will have a frame of reference when caring for patients. You will recognize the patterns and symptoms of the critically ill. Give yourself time, I've been at it over 7 yrs now and I still learn something new every day.
  8. by   Biffbradford
    I served 12 years in CVICU.

    No, it does not get better, but you do.

    Hang in there, it can be pure hell at times, but you can do it!
  9. by   Lovelymo79
    Thanks all! I'm officially off orientation. I get butterflies almost every time I go in (especially after a series of days off). But, I'm learning to breathe and to also use all my resources (more seasoned nurses). If I can just get through the first year mark, I'll feel so much better. Can't wait to see myself then!
  10. by   flo136
    Give it a good six months. I felt like I made so many errors when I started. The patient deteriorated, and it was all my fault? Of course not, but I could not see why. I was so tired and stressed, the whole anatomy and physiology of intensive care was beyond me.
    But after a while it did make sense. It did 'click' and I got good feedback from my mentor. It did get better. But the first few months were really tough, and I didn't think I was any good at all.
    12 years later, still in ICU, clinical nurse specialist. Some days it is crap, other days I love it.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    you chose to start nursing in a difficult job. it will get better -- honestly it will. but the first year of nursing is overwhelming, scarey and sometimes just downright sucks. don't ever stop learning . . . you don't know everything now, and you never will. i've been a nurse for a good long time, and i still learn something new every day.
  12. by   peyton0401
    There use to be a time in nursing where common sense prevailed. New grads had to do 1-2 years on the floor to get comfortable in their new role, become more organized, etc. . icu was a natural progression. unfortunately, many new grads are in icu 's and are fish out of water, placing a further strain on the exper. rn's, and placing patients at risk. Horror storys galore. be careful.