Feeling overwhelmed in ICU

  1. Hi all .... after reading a lot of these posts I see that I am not the only one who isn't happy ... I graduated 2 months ago from an accelerated BSN program and accepted a job in an ICU that has all kinds of patients but specializes in Neuro patients ... I worked in a Pedi unit during school and loved it but do not live in the same area so that is not an option ... there are many things I don't like about my job now (****** nurses, being expected to do things I have no idea why, not being enrolled in any ICU specific classes, etc) but the main thing is the fact that we are keeping people alive for what? .... It is the same moral/ethical situation that I had with the NICU ... what willl the quality of life be for some of these people if they survive .... my original reason for taking this job is because I would like to work in the Pedi ICU but my hospital wants me to have at least 1 year of experience in adult ICU experience then they will cross train me .... but I am wondering if 1 year of being miserable and scared that I am terribly unsafe is worth it? .... I am afraid to leave and go to another unit that sucks too ... I guess I would also have swallow my pride a little by not working in the "esteemed" ICU ... I wish I could spend a day in the Pedi Med/Surg floor to see if the grass is truly greener on the other side .... I would love to hear from you all to see what you think?!?!
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    About CaliRN29

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 50; Likes: 9


  3. by   Daytonite
    hi, calirn29!

    i'm not criticizing you, but didn't you have to take a class in trends, ethics or legal aspects of medical care prior to or part of your nursing curriculum? that would help explain why you are seeing and keeping people alive. if people don't have a living will or durable power of attorney where they have specified they don't want extraordinary measures to sustain their life, then state law dictates that all must be done to keep them alive unless the doctor talks with the next of kin and can get a dnr order. i didn't like seeing this either and i worked with it back in the 80s when everyone was "saved". we lovingly called a section of our stepdown unit "the vegetable patch".

    if you have no other facility that you can work at then i say just tough it out if icu nursing is where you want to be. however, you need to understand that these kinds of situations are common for this specialty. find another facility and change jobs if you don't like the people you are working with, if that is possible. however, i think that once you get into pediatric icus you are going to come across some similar ethical dilemmas as well that are going to upset you.

    perhaps, the answer is to change to a completely different area of nursing where these kinds of ethical questions do not come up. if you are in an area where your choices of hospitals is limited then you are kind of stuck unless you are willing to move or drive long distance. it sounds like you are not getting much in the way of an orientation or training for an icu job. i drove 30 miles one way every day for my first nursing job.

    welcome to allnurses!
  4. by   Tweety
    It's completely normal to get to the reality of nursing, (despite what you read in a textbook about issues and trends ) and experience some disillusion when faced with it face to face day after day. Our ideal is that we go into the esteemed areas and save lives and make a difficerence, but the reality is some of it is futile.

    You're fealing of fear of being unsafe and not being able to handle it are normal too. My bet is if you go to peds you will feel the same.

    I would at least try to finish up your year and make a decision later, rather than act on these feelings, which are quite normal for the new grad.

    However, no one should be completely totally miserable and unhappy either. Only you can decide.

    Good luck!