As Good as it Gets

  1. I'm five months out from finishing my second degree, a BSN. Today I started on the "family nursing" part of the curriculum. I've got a case manager to follow. She mentioned that she would never let her daughters go into nursing, as it won't pay you what you are worth. This was extremely discouraging to me. On top of that, I could care less about ordering Durable medical equipment for someone that's going to a SNF unit, etc., or doing any family nursing, L & D or basic floor nursing. On top of it, the only classes I seem to like are those dealing with hardcore science. I can't stand all the cultural, psychosocial stuff they cram down your throat. Did those of you reading this feel like, hey, these are just crazy hoops to jump through, then after you graduate you never have to encounter a lot of this bs they put you through?

    My question: is this as good as it gets? Can I only look forward to more of this when I enter the ICU as a new grad? I feel like I may be stuck into something for the rest of my life that I really shouldn't have chosen. By the way, this case manager said she strongly recommends MED/SURG before ICU, and that the nurses in ICU tend to be cliquish and tend to think they're hotstuff, so be prepared.

    Can someone give me a reality check? Do I just ignore what she said, do ICU, then CRNA?

    Thanks for the help
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    About Espresso girl!

    Joined: Oct '02; Posts: 36


  3. by   nilepoc
    Skip the med/surg, go straight to the ICU and hang in there. While I won't say that the ICU is not prone to having some BS policies, you will find it is a great deal more exciting and captivating than what you are in now.

    I would however pay attention to most of the stuff that you see now, because it will be invaluable to you in explaining the long term course of some of your future patients to their families. that being said, nursing education at the level you are in is what you put into it. figure out how to apply your science education to what you are currently doing, and you will be going a long way towards helping yourself become a better practitioner, and ultimately a great CRNA. If becomming a CRNA is what you want. Science will only make you a better nurse. I am constantly amazed at the revelations I see every day, as I study to become a CRNA. Things that you see in a clinical enviornment, that you took for granted, make much more sense when you know the mechanisms behind them. I would say this is the best part of the anatomy I am currently taking.

    good luck, hang in there.

  4. by   g8rlimey
    Definitely ignore what she says! I felt much the same way you did when I was in nsg. school, but I did the best I could to deal with the BS. There is a huge amount of bs in nsg school, but you have to get through it. I started nursing school knowing what I wanted to do, be a CVICU nurse. I ignored all the comments of "go to the floor for a couple of years first" and "you need to get down the organization skills" and was hired into an intense unit.
    chek out this thread from the past that relates to what we are talking about:

    Hope this helps and good luck with the BS---it does get better!!!
  5. by   braden74
    well i can only speak from my experience but i would suggest going straight to the ICU. as has been posted before on this site, med/surg and ICU are like apples and oranges. both have their negatives and their positives and require different skills. if you are confident in your skills and are willing to learn then you won't have any trouble going right in to the ICU.

    i suggest finding a hospital with a proven record when it comes to educating new grads in the ICU. speak with nurses who have been through the hospitals program and get their opinions. also talk with the nurse managers to get a feel for how the unit accepts new grads. my unit has been extremely supportive and willing to teach me. i have had an easy time making the transition from nsg school directly to the ICU. i credit the rn's i work with for a lot of this because they are so helpful and willing to answer questions.

    so do what makes you happy is what i would say. i couldn't imagine being on a med/surg floor. icu is where it's at if that's what you really want. best of luck.

  6. by   kmchugh
    Espresso Girl

    I often wondered the same thing as you in the latter parts of nursing school, and even sometimes in the ICU. The short answer is NO, this is not as good as it gets.

    As for the Case Manager's suggestion that you work med-surg first, I would nod my head politely, and keep one thought in the back of my mind: "What the heck does she know about it? She's a case manager, not an ICU nurse!" I went direct to a level one trauma center SICU on graduation from nursing school. Yes, it was tough, and there was a degree of having to prove myself to the more experienced nurses. But, I did fine. I know several nurses who went straight to the same unit from nursing school. I know of only one who couldn't cut it. The rest did fine. One of them graduated nursing school in 1997, and is now the SICU unit manager.

    If CRNA is your final aim, rest assured, it gets A LOT better.

    Kevin McHugh, CRNA
  7. by   MICU RN
    Hang in there and definitely go right into the ICU if you want to become a crna. I can also identify with your interest in the science and medical aspects of nursing school. I realized once I started nursing school that I was really attracted to medicine much more than nursing, even though I went in with the long term goal of being a crna. Having worked in the SICU, ER and now in a micu I have concluded that if I don't go to crna school I will get out of bedside nursing all together. My experience has been if you enjoy the scientific aspects and want to really use your intellect rather than your back that you will be very dissappointed with nursing in general. I can't recommend it to anyone who may possibly be interested in medicine or wants a profession where you are respected for your intellect. Everyone I know who was on the fence and went into nursing, now regrets it and is either trying to become a NP, CRNA , MD or is getting out. Nursing takes a special type of person that is be willing to put up with plenty of BS and basically be content with be treated like a pseudo-professional by hospital admin. and patients alike. For example, just yesterday I had a patient who kept requesting things as if I was a waiter and part of the housecleaning team. Now, I have waited tables and have no problem with that type of work, however,I didn't go to college to become a professional and then be treated in that manner. And to me that in a nutshell is the problem with bedside nursing we are expected to wear too many hats. All I kept thinking yesterday was I can't wait to I get into a profession where I will be respected for my knowledge and treated with some respect, I hope as a crna I will be treated more professionally. Theres is a good reason young people today are not choosing nursing as a profession, there are just too many other better professions out there.
  8. by   Qwiigley
    I always hated that part, too when I was in the ICU. I usually did what was polite, a couple of small things, then I would stop, look them in the eye and tell them that I was not there for their pleasure, but to get them well. That included providing them with meds and assessing their mind, body and soul. If they needed more than that then they should get on the phone and hired a personal sitter, because I was not going to be theirs. Yes, I spent a lot of time in "nurse jail", but it was worth it.
  9. by   Espresso girl!
    Hi Brad:

    Wondering if you have any recommendations on where to work ICU here in the East Valley. I'm finishing up the accel BSN program at NAU, and will do 2 months wherever I chose in whichever specialty. I'm choosing ICU and thinking coronary ICU. Don't want to end up in a bad place. I live in Chandler so don't want to drive in the rat race if I can help it but would consider it if it wasn't too far. I called Scottsdale Healthcare on Osborne and even their recruiters were rude! So, I didn't bother to go further with them. I've also been told to stay away from Chandler Regional. However, Desert Samaritan in Mesa was recommended. If you have the scoop to pass along I'd be grateful!

    Are you planning on applying to CRNA school? How long have you worked ICU and where did you go to school?

    Espresso Girl
  10. by   New CCU RN
    As a new grad myself (May), I went straight for ICU. Now that I have been there for about six months ...I have to say if ICU is what you want and you have CRNA in mind, go straight ..running for the ICU. Don't waste your time doing something you dont want to do. Just pick your hospital with suggestion ...if it is possible for you is to go for a large teaching hospital. In general, they tend to be more open to new grads, have better orientation problems, and the nurses as well as the docs seem to have more openess to teaching and learning. One negative thing is that there will be times where you will need to know your stuff and advocate big time for your patient bc often the docs you are dealing with are just on your unit for one month, learning side by side with you. Crazy enough, this has already happened many times to me already. You are going to need to be willing to speak up, voice your opinion, know your rationales, be confident, and be able to advocate. I am sure you are capable of this. There were a bunch of new grads that all started together as well as a few experienced nurses. Know what....all the new grads per management and other nurses are doing better than the experienced nurses. Go figure..... going to med surg first isnt gonna make you cut it. Your info is fresh in your mind, you know how to learn fast already, so maybe there are a few skills you need to refine....your gonna get to do em way more often in an ICU than on the floor. Not to mention you will have way more support in an ICU....... for us...we always are well staffed, always have a doc around, ensure that the staff is a mixed level of experience.

    As far as the catering to patients go, yes .... some do expect you to act like their maid, fortunately most of ours are sedated and on the I try and grin and bear it for now....I will be out of bedside nursing soon enough. But honestly, most of the time it is not so bad and both the families and patients seem to have a greater respect for you....and some have even told me that I seem to know more ahout whats going on than their MD's....I just smile and thank them. So I wish you the best of luck... and all I have to say is get in ur ICU applications.
  11. by   Espresso girl!
    Thankyou kindly to all of your fantastic, thoughtful responses. It's great not to have to reinvent the wheel and I will surely exercise these great suggestions. Best to you all,

    Espresso Girl
  12. by   SunDevilRN
    I say go striaght into the ICU. I did an externship and started in the CVICU immediately after graduation. I too encountered nurses who said do a year of med-surg first and realized that's the route they took. If you are willing to put in the work needed to become a good ICU nurse they is no reason you can not thrive in the ICU. I have also encountered those who have said they would never let there children be nurses. I agree to just nod your head nicely and let them vent. Nursing is sometimes very back breaking both emotionally and physically but it is also full of great moments. It is a fabulous career choice with more possibilities than any other I know. Keep your head up and keep your eyes on the prize.
  13. by   Austin
    I agree with the straight to ICU route, experience in med-surg as a new grad (before I discovered nurse anesthesia, as a matter of fact) was not without merit. For instance, the experience as charge nurse was invaluable in developing a sense of autonomy. Not to say it was NECESSARY, but it was valuable and didn't hurt me.
    I do hope none of us are ever to busy to let our patients know we care about them...wholistically, not just the parts that are explained by hard science. That's one of the things that sets us apart from physician anesthetists; we tend to come from a background of caring for the whole patient, as a person, not as a diagnosis only.
    Hope that's not too much of the BS(N)
  14. by   zzzzzgirl
    I've heard so many nurses say "I wouldn't let my daughter become a nurse, I want her to be paid what she's worth". This to me is such an insult, as I am in the process of getting the BSN (May grad). OH, I did have another LPN remark as the first words out of her mouth to me, "I think you're an idiot for going into nursing." This was on the med/surg floor at Yuma Regional. Great training huh?

    Maybe I am making a dumb choice and I'll realize later, but I saw opportunity when I decided to go this route: flex schedule, dong something to help others, not just making money to make money (like in sales) overtime if you want it, good career opp in either CRNA or NP, get to wear comfy shoes and scrubs instead of high heels and those stinkin' nylons. Am I delusional? Or, do you think these points hold? Have I missed any major ones?


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