Covid ICU New Grad, help.


Specializes in Medical/Covid ICU. Has 3 years experience.

IDK if you can tell by my username, but I am exhausted. I just got off 4 mo. orientation to a medical ICU that is being run by new grads. I've only been on my own about a month and I feel like I am losing my grip on reality. Doesn't help I'm nights. Everyone whos helped train me is leaving, our charge nurse is a new grad with a year experience on the floor and every other nurse is a traveler. Not to mention we aren't getting hazard pay of any kind and these travelers are making crazy money. No hate to them, just to the corporations that do not value their own staff. I've not had a single one of my patients live and this is my first exposure to nursing and death in one. I started journaling to not lose track. Which is terrible, but I don't know how to talk to people about it that aren't nurses and I am the only nurse in my family. I have a two year contract worth around 14k and it is for two years and I don;t even feel like I'm going to make it past two months. I feel like I'm drowning and I do not know what to do. There's so much more than this I want to say but I can't find it within myself to expel that much energy when I'm already one edge 24'7. 


Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 1,909 Posts

Please try to reach out the support system available in your hospital. There should be a colleague support line for staff that provides anonymous support as needed. Do you have any nurses at work that you can talk with? Were you part of a new grad cohort of students? Unfortunately, what you're dealing with right now is happening across the country to new nurses and you're right that the stress and anxiety are nearly unbearable. At least for those of us that were nurses before the pandemic, we have the perspective of knowing what our jobs will be like when life returns to normal- or whatever the new normal is. If the journaling is helping you, that's great, but if it's becoming something that keeps you focused on the negative aspects while you're outside of work, try to put it down and change your focus. Try to get outside for a walk, clear your head, see nature and the things are going on mostly unchanged while we feel like the world is in chaos. You can get through this, you're doing your best. And come here, post what you need, share when it helps and read through what others have to share. Good luck!

sjyRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. 5 Posts

I wonder if we work in the same ICU! I have been feeling what your feeling since March when half my ICU became COVID. I finally had enough and sent a text to my manager saying I can't take it anymore. I have been working in a non-covid ICU for a month however it's just full of former covid patients so still just watching them die and suffer. I feel the way you do for a year now. I stuck it out the year because everyone said"oh everyone feels like that!" and now I am pretty sure I have some PTSD. I have tried to apply out of the ICU but no one is hiring since they need all hands on deck in the ICUs. I wish I had something better to say but I guess I'm commenting to let you know that your not alone. I hope it gets better.


19 Posts

I've been in ICU for 9 years. And I do travel nursing sometimes. Travel nurses can be either very excellent or....very not. Try to find ones with experience and ask them questions. ICU nurses love other nurses that ask questions because it shows they put patient safety above feeling annoying or bothering someone. 

Some travelers are a wealth of knowledge, use them if your own staff is all new. Also it takes 1 year in normal circumstances to feel comfortable in ICU (I was an ICU new grad). It takes 2 years to feel confident. 

I can tell you a covid ICU is grueling. These patients are the sickest I've ever cared for and they are all dying. Normal ICU nursing is NOT like this. Most patients survive. It can be very disheartening to start as a new grad in a COVID ICU without proper resources. 

The plus side is you are going to gain a TON of valuable experiences. It's not everyday we have patients on 8+ gtts, proned, CRRT, etc. Having these patients everyday is grueling, but will also give you a huge boost in your skills. 
Oh another piece of advice - read all the physician notes. They list every diagnosis and beside it their treatment for it. This was a huge help to me as a new grad ICU nurse that knew next to nothing.