ICU NURSING: Should I stay or should I go?


Hello Nurses!

I'm approaching 4 months in the MICU and I feel dread and bad anxiety every time I go into work! Usually feels worst on the first day because I have absolutely no idea what I am getting. By the second day I feel better because I would likely return to at least one patient that was the same and mostly familiar. The past couple of weeks I have not been getting the same patients back so it's been a struggle.

I had 12 weeks of orientation, as I am a nurse with 1.5 years of Med/Surg experience. The last weeks of orientation I tried my best to rely very little on my preceptor. All my preceptors have said that I am doing a great job and that I will be just fine – the truth is I really do not feel that!

I've communicated with my manager and preceptors the way that I feel. They all tell me that what I feel is normal. I just find it crazy that we work in a job where the struggle is so real and so early on!

I lost three people very close within a short period of time a couple of years ago. I did not expect that amount of impact dealing with death routinely would have on me. I can equate it to having a cut and being able to relate to someone else who has a similar cut – you just understand what it feels like. For that I really feel for my ICU patient families. It's emotionally exhausting after two shifts. I called into my third shift tonight – I'm drained.

I've discussed going part time so I could ‘micro-dose' the stress and anxiety I feel weekly. Two may be more manageable, three is killing me & spacing them apart makes me feel like I'm always at work and have no life!

Night shift is rough! I've done it before but the high stress keeps me from getting sleep during the day – a time where I already usually have trouble sleeping. I'm getting transferred to days and been told that although it's more hectic I would get the lower acuity patients as there are a lot of seasoned nurses on days.

Sorry if I am ranting a bit but I have been debating my future in the ICU..


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Sounds like you have a plan and a supportive unit. Good luck and best wishes.