Tomorrow I start as a new critical care nurse on my OWN! I'm both nervous and excited. I did go through a 6 week training course, but extremely nervous to be on my own. The nurses have been great and very helpful; however, I'm nervous to have the patients in my own care. Do you have any advice as a new nurse? How long does this anxiety last? It's one of the busiest floors in he hospital... during preceptorship I was more comfortable because I had someone by me most of the time. Most of my nervousness comes from being unable to answer patients/families questions, like for procedures or which doctor to contact during certain situations. Also, discharges! The patients/families are eager to leave and I'm nervous I won't be fast enough. I also am hesitant to ask CNAs for help. I know they're busy too... I don't know how to not stress my CNAs out by asking for help.
Many guidance or wisdom will be greatly appreciated.
ASK QUESTIONS. If in doubt, ASK. Trust your nursing judgment and figure out who gives bad advice and who doesn't. But always ASK.
Just have an answer ready to go for things you do not know such as, "I am not certain but I will find out and get back with you" or "I need to confer with my colleagues and I will let you know ". It is OK to have some anxiety just let it be motivating and not crippling.
You might find this page of resources very helpful. (Link below) Good luck!
I love the icu faqs web page. Anything that can make learning about lab values entertaining is good in my books. Gosh, I still get anxiety at times, and I've been in icu for 2 years.
I'd also add to try and not take it personally if your patient gets sicker. It's not you, it's just that they were very sick to begin with and we can't always predict how their body will react to the illness.
Anxiety doesn't go away, it gets easier to handle after about a year
It's completely normal to feel terrified! Completely. Remember you are never alone -- you and your unit are a team.
Have a brain sheet, always ask questions as suggested above. If a family member asks a question you do not know the answer to, just be honest but say you will find out. Treat your CNAs as co-workers, if it takes longer to find a CNA than to do a task your self, just do it yourself. If you have time to take someone to the bathroom, do it, they will see your willing to help out and won't mind returning the favor
Your going to be just fine!!
Thank you everyone!
Proud to say I survived my first solo nursing shift! Now to get through tomorrow ...
Taking each and everyone of your advice!
I'm new to the ICU myself, just transitioned in July. I think others gave great advice. What I'd like to add is in regards to your discharge concern. I don't know how often you discharge patients from your ICU (I've only had 2 discharges and 1 AMA), but I came from post surg/oncology where each nurse discharged anywhere from 1-5 patients daily. If you're concerned about missing something, I would recommend writing a list of things that need to be done for the discharge (i.e. Collecting scripts, finishing DC paperwork, DCing IV, etc) and check things off as you go. Also, as soon as the doctor says they can discharge I go in and say something like "hey, you get to go home! As soon as the doctor completes his part of the paperwork then I can do mine and get you out of here. Let's plan for about an hour". Sometimes I might already have a head start on the paperwork if I anticipate a DC but if the physician changes around meds then it puts in more boxes that I have to go in and fill. If I'm super busy with other things or the patient is super pushy then I'll give a 2 hour timeframe, not that I'm trying to make them wait, but to set a boundary that there is more going on in the background to which they are not privy and it's not going to help to have them getting impatient. It also sets you up for success so when you walk back in in 15-20 minutes with paperwork in hand, you are a hero rather than "gosh, we still had to wait TWENTY MINUTES for that nurse just to bring my paperwork".
Good luck with your new specialty!
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