New nurses in ICU - page 3

Will be graduating as an RN in May and want to know what experienced nurses think about starting right out in critical care as opposed to the traditional one year on a med-surg floor? I've worked on... Read More

  1. by   MichaelEDRN
    I have to agree that jumping right into a critical care unit after graduating is not for everyone. I started in the Emergency Department right out of school much to many veteran RN's astonishment. I must be the exception to the rule because I have had nothing but great reviews from my Director. I have seen new grad's attempt the same career start, and not all are successful. I have also seen veteran ICU and Med-Surg RN's try the switch into the ED without success. I believe that we all have our own calling, and that our uniqueness, and special skills allow us to reach the levels that we are comfortable with in our nursing career. If you are up to the challenge, JUST DO IT!
    One year out of school, I am now working Registry and traveling all over the city working for different Hospital ED's at the drop of a hat! Try this on for size: New Hospital ED, no orientation, here are your room assignments, here is where the Physician orders are, here is your Drug Code, have a nice shift! I thrive in this type of environment, but again, it's not for everyone. What a great profession!!

    Originally posted by natalie:
    I think this is the wave of the future although I agree with jt. Stargazer, you're presuming alot when you believe janine will have a strong preceptor and theory classes, along with a 3 month orientation.

    janine-you have to ask yourself..

    -Are you ready to refuse an assignment outside of your "orientation" role, because your hospital will most likely use you as a "regular" on a short-staffed day?
    -Are you ready to insist on the availabilility of a preceptor?
    -Are you ready to refuse a patient assignment outside your scope?
    -Are you ready to insist on your FULL orientation?

    It's hard enough to begin your first nursing job, but the "tabula rasa" theory on med-surf vs ICU doesn't hold water. ALL NEW NURSES ARE TABULA RASA.
    The only difference with ICU is you're dealing with CRITICALLY ILL patients. CRITICAL being the operative word.

    So if you are the type of person to be intimidated by management, if you are not able to explicitly define your NURSING STANDARDS to management, if you are not able to handle a mistake in a CRITICAL DECISION, and if you don't trust your hospital's administration, then don't do it. Most of us cannot say we had all that together in our first job, AND protect these sick, sick patients.

    If, on the other hand, you know you're a quick learner and you have developed great assessment skills in school, and none of the above warnings apply, then you might succeed.

    To go from nursing student to critical care nurse just doesn't make sense.

  2. by   kirby121
    I too am a new grad. I graduated in Dec. I went straight to the PCICU and Love it!! I was a PCT for 3 years and an EMT.

    I believe to make it in the ICU right out of school you have to Work hard. I have a great preceptor. There is also a 4 hour a week learning lab that I go to and a Peds Critical course that I will be attending. My orientation is 12 weeks long.

    Another big plus that I see is that there is a great deal of team work in my unit. No one is ever stranded and there is always a Doc around.

    Your work environment and preceptor can make or break you in the beginning!
  3. by   Brownms46
    I just had to add my two cents. I went into NICU the next day after school ended, and got the Preceptor from HE**! She was very experienced, but had a terrible disposition. She was good at what she did, even though she tried to make me think I was the worst nurse she had ever seen. I was almost in tears everyday I was with her. A fellow grad, and I both came into the unit at the same time, and I envied the interaction she had with her perceptor. One nite, almost at the end of our orientation, we were asked to fill in on the nite shift. Man...this nurse went around saying how she hoped the babies would still be alive in the morning! To say the least, she didn't do anything for my self confidence. But the babies survived without incident, and the nurses on the nite shift were glad to have us. When I finally went on the nite shift, one of the senior residents, came over to me, and complimented on how much more confident I appeared to be since my orientation ended. Gee...I wonder why...LOL!
    I also worked L&D, Ante/Postpartumn, doing a lot of OT. I just couldn't get enough of being able to care for others. I gained a great deal of experince in my time at this hospital. I don't know if it was because I challenged myself, or the experienced I gained by working in this unit, but after one year I left, and started working agencies. I had no problem working on any floor, or unit! I was always called back, and have been offered a job at every facility I have worked at. I'm traveling now, and I'm continually asked to come on staff, in ICU, CCU,MICU,SICU, and Trauma ER (even offered a $5,000 bonus, while doing 4 back to back contracts in one unit). I sincerely feel, that if I had went to work on a Med-Surg floor, back when I first graduated almost 22yrs ago, I would have never had the confidence I had to explore outside my comfort zone. I do agree, that it depends on the person. As for having a background in nursing prior to school...I had none! When I walked into school, I was greener, than most patients are. I didn't even know how to read a glass thermomenter. But I learned fast, and had an excellent memory. I asked questions, and I challenged myself to learn everything I could, and sought out more. I didn't just want to pass the exams, I strived to MAX them, plus get extra points. Also during this time, I had a child in NICU for 60 days, and who almost died several times. Took her home with a trach, had to save her life due to a T-tube becoming blocked, while her father was caring for her. In his terror, had given EMS the wrong address, and by the time they arrived, the emergency had been taken care of by me, that time was still a student. My daughter was sleeping comfortably in my arms. When EMS told me, that they had went to MD's homes, during an emergency, who hadn't been able to keep their cool, and work on their own child, I knew then, that I would do just fine in the real world. I also believe, that dealing with the level 3 infants, where I was kept by this preceptor, and constantly held to the level of prefection she required, this nurse unwittingly, helped me become, the highly skilled nurse I am today. Not that I would wish her on my worst enemy! Remember all of you who precept new grads....treat them as you would want to be treated. Good Luck, to all the new grads, and remember to no ANYONE!


    [This message has been edited by Brownms46 (edited March 12, 2001).]