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Considering CVICU

JulietRN JulietRN (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Cardiac PCU/Stepdown.

Hi I have been a nurse since February of this year. I am currently working on a cardiac stepdown unit at a highly-ranked, high-acuity teaching hospital. It’s been a good experience so far - I love the patient population and how much I am learning, but the unit politics are already wearing me down (which I understand is likely present on every unit to some degree...). I’ve also always been the kind of person who looks for growth and the next challenge, so I’ve been trying to look ahead and decide what I want my next career step to be once my residency program is over in 8 months. I am very intrigued by the CVICU, but also scared because it is extremely high acuity. Not to say that other CVICUs aren’t high acuity... but ours is the hospital that patients are sent to in this region for the highest level of care. The CVICU nurses also have unique responsibilities and autonomy here that I’ve heard other facilities do not allow - incredible stuff, but also intimidating.

I have always done well in school and have received high remarks from coworkers and managers since starting here. I also have prior medical experience as a medical assistant and scribe for 5 years before going to nursing school. I study outside of work because I enjoy learning and trying to become the best nurse I can be for my patients. My priority has and always will be keeping my patients safe.... and regardless of how hard I’m working, I‘m worried I am not smart enough to keep them safe in the CVICU here.

So, my question is: is it normal to be worried about these kinds of things? Or is this a sign that I wouldn’t be a good ICU nurse?


Specializes in NICU.

11 hours ago, JulietRN said:

So, my question is: is it normal to be worried about these kinds of things? Or is this a sign that I wouldn’t be a good ICU nurse?

It is best to be humble and realize that you do not everything. Being a little scared is a good thing, it makes a safe nurse. Thinking that you know everything, and not scared to jump into a very high acuity unit is a bad thing and errors happen because of arrogance.

I would suggest putting in a year at your current position and learn everything you can in the next 8 months. After the 1 year mark, do some self reflection and determine if you feel you have a good foundation to make the move to CVICU.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology.

Perfectly normal. I feel a lot of the large hospitals give their ICU nurses more autonomy than other hospitals would allow. My old employer is known throughout the US and the world and I heard about the autonomy the nurses are given in the ICU's. I was considering going to ICU as I started on a stepdown as well but realized that was as far as I wanted to go.


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