New Grad in Trauma ICU, advice?

  1. Hello!

    I am a new grad RN and I will be starting in a level 2 trauma ICU at the end of next month. I will have a 12 week orientation period with a combination of hospital days with a preceptor and classes, but I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice on how I can prepare myself before I begin, since I have about a month? For instance, any books that would be helpful related to trauma/critical care, common medications that I should familiarize myself with, etc.
    I am also interested in hearing from someone who works on a trauma unit, and what you think of it...my preceptorship experience was on a med/surg ICU, so I am not sure how different this unit will be!

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Visit Wildcatkt profile page

    About Wildcatkt, BSN

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 22; Likes: 9
    Trauma ICU nurse
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience in ICU, trauma

    2 Comments

  3. by   flyersfan88
    I work trauma step down. Be prepared for an under-served population, grossly uneducated families, rampant mental illness and drug abuse, and some all around difficult population to work with. It is quite different than other patient populations. I do love it, though.
  4. by   asystole00
    I started off as a new grad in the MICU at a Level 1 Trauma Center. I frequently receive overflow from and float to the Surgical/Trauma ICU and the Neurosurgery ICU. Honestly, I don't think there's anything one can do to prepare for the intensity that is critical care nursing as a new grad. There is such a huge learning curve! As far as the differences between medical patients and surgical patients, I find the surgical patients to be much more straightforward and are generally much healthier than the medical patients I care for on a daily basis. The basics of critical care nursing that you picked up during your preceptorship will carry over to your job in the Trauma ICU. The basics never really change and will help you if you ever float to or work in another type of ICU.

    Here are the books that I used to help me learn the ropes of critical care. Some of these may have newer editions:

    Manual of Critical Care Nursing: Nursing Interventions and Collaborative Management 6th Ed. by Marianne Saunorus Baird & Susan Bethel (*This is probably my favorite critical care reference as it lays out everything for you. It starts with pathophysiology and moves into assessment and collaborative management. I cannot recommend this reference enough for new grads.)
    Pass CCRN 3rd Ed. by Robin Donohoe Dennison
    Core Curriculum for Critical Care Nursing 6th Ed. by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
    AACN Certification and Core Review for High Acuity and Critical Care 6th Ed. by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

    The CCRN material definitely was a little advanced for me as a new grad, but by doing the review questions, it definitely helped reinforce what I was learning on the job and helped me to think like a critical care nurse. Overall, just enjoy yourself time off before you begin work. There's going to be plenty of time soon to start learning critical care. Never be afraid to ask any questions and take advantage of any opportunity you can to learn something new. Welcome to critical care!

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