Resources for new CVICU nurses...

  1. I'm looking for some additional resources that I could do to teach myself about anything CVICU. My issue is that I did my homework before starting in this area and all the critical care classes my hosp gives you are so basic. I did a search from this site and came up with "Bojar's manual of perioperative care in adult cardiac surgery" and am wondering if this is still an up to date source. I know is great for swans/hemodynamics. Im also looking for things that tell you how to use/troubleshoot the equipment such as IABP or temporary pacers. I would also like to know more about pharmacology, not just what the mech of action is but when would each drug be indicated etc. Feel free to suggest any other things you feel would be helpful to new nurses. Are there any areas in particular that you see new nurses struggle in? Sorry such a long post but thanks for your help
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    About aCRNAhopeful

    Joined: Sep '08; Posts: 263; Likes: 126
    from US
    Specialty: CVICU


  3. by   FST6
    To help you out with your quest for knowledge:

    1. Slow down. You will not be able to know everything in your first year. One mistake many new ICU nurses make is getting the idea that they can read about all there is to know in critical care while still learning how to be an ICU nurse. You can read until the cows come home, but you will eventually reach a mind-dump situation. Another problem is if you read about something but then never get to see it or do it, you will forget that chunk of knowledge in due time. Start focusing on what you need to know first (ICU medications, modes of mechanical ventilation, hemodynamic monitoring, bedside ICU procedures, etc.) Once you have a grasp of these subjects and have had a chance to do hands on, then progress to the next step. I'm not sure how your ICU works, but in my CVICU, new nurses will not be caring for complex patients for at least six months (i.e. IABP, open heart patients, cardiac assist devices). Establish the basics of critical care first, then move on to more in depth areas.

    2. The AACN offers the essentials of critical care orientation (ECCO) program that will provide you with quite of bit of useful information. The website is

    3. Any critical care textbook will serve as a good reference. I personally use Thelen's Critical Care Nursing: Diagnosis and Manangement and High Acuity Nursing (5th Ed.). Both of these books are excellent at breaking down the pathophysiology and treatment (both medical and nursing) for conditions you see in the ICU. However, don't try to read these books like a novel. They are not designed in that fashion. Attempting to do so will often invoke stark raving boredom or sudden fits of narcolepsy. Pick a topic, read about it, then move on.

    4. Take ACLS as soon as you can (if you haven't already). The text book for ACLS is also a great reference guide. Granted, if you are taking this class for the first time, do not come out thinking you are ready to run a code on your own. You have to go through a few codes before you can reliably put all that ACLS knowledge into coherent action. Hell, I still remember my first code in the ICU like it was yesterday. I must have stared at that damn V-Tach for a minute or two before I got over the denial that my patient was trying to die on me. Ugh, what a memory.

    5. Be patient. Becoming a critical care nurse takes time and experience. Do not put unrealistic expectations on yourself. For example, you do not have to be the master of PA catheters by the end of your orientation. By the nature of the job, it can take 1-2 years before you see and encounter all the situations your ICU deals with.

    6. Join the AACN. With your membership you will get a subscription to two magazines: Critical Care Nursing and the Journal of Critical Care. These are excellent publications. Being an AACN member will also get you discounts on fees for AACN conferences down the road.

    That's about all I can think of right now. I'm sure other folks will fill in what I have forgotten. Good luck on your new career! I'm sure you'll love the world of perceived control that we call critical care. Take care!
  4. by   Eiano
    I agree. Just go with the flow of your hospital's orientation. There is soooooo much to learn right now! If you try and do too much you'll be lost in no time. Just take advantage of the time you have with your preceptor, ask questions and participate and take notes in the VAD, IABP, etc... (whatever the case may be) classes.
  5. by   MNrun
    I admire the OP motivation. Bojar is a great resource. I started in the CVSICU right out of school and wanted to learn more than I was being taught and read all I could get my hands on. Take the CCRN. All the extra work I did payed off as I was accepted to CRNA school with 14 months ICU experience. More people need to be motivated to advance their practice like you.
  6. by   aCRNAhopeful
    Thanks for the words of advice and support!
  7. by   silver1
    Take a look at , they're the ones that make Swan-Ganz catheters, look around on that website and you would find large amounts of info. You can even watch a video on the steps to place a swan. There's also lots of info on hemodynamics, you just have to look around, Great website that many CTICU nurses are unaware of.
  8. by   RNpjm

    I received your private message regarding UMDNJ. Since I am a new member to the All Nurses forum- it is not allowing me to e-mail you back. I'd be happy to reply back & answer your questions. Please contact me at
  9. by   chudder
    Bojar's book is a fantastic resource for any heart nurse. Dive in!
  10. by   hallcrest
    This post has been really helpful to me. I just accepted a job in a peds CVICU, and I am incredibly stoked and more than a little intimidated at the learning curve i face.
    If anyone has recommendations for pediatric-specific cardio materials, I would be very grateful.
    As a new nurse, it's an amazing opportunity to graduate and have a job. I am so thankful!
  11. by   PediRN_DMC
    Quote from hallcrest
    If anyone has recommendations for pediatric-specific cardio materials, I would be very grateful.
    As a new nurse, it's an amazing opportunity to graduate and have a job. I am so thankful!
    I also am going to begin in the Pedi CVICU right out of school. Were you able to find any materials? My nurse manager recommended "Pediatric Heart Surgery: A ready reference for Professionals" and I found it useful. Good Luck!
  12. by   CVmursenary; cardiac surgury essentials for critical care nurses