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ICU orientation

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After a couple years working on a med/surg floor, I transferred to the ICU. I received 20 shifts with a preceptor and was assigned ECCO modules. No classroom, shadowing or other experiences. I feel utterly unprepared. Is this a reasonable orientation? It’s a mid-sized urban hospital, but not a teaching hospital.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

Usually, the classroom orientation is for new nurses with 0 acute experience to get them acclimated to the acute atmosphere. You have that with some MS experience. 20 shifts with a preceptor is basically 7 weeks to soak in the new material. Yes, it seems okay, as you have experience with p & p in the facility, time management, etc. Most would only get a few shifts, from what I've read elsewhere and here. I think you'll be fine

Unless something has changed, and correct me if I'm wrong, but a teaching hospital is related to MD education, not nursing education? Has some residual, but not a lot of direct effect on nursing specialities and orientation. Sorry, I've stayed out of the hospital specialties so long and don't keep up...

Edited by Hoosier_RN

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Did you have prior experience with vents and drips? If not, you would need class time with those. You need class time for hemodynamic monitoring as well. Make a list of areas you KNOW you don't know and approach nursing education with your concerns.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

At my hospital when we go from Med/Surg to ICU we get 12 weeks of orientation. Once or twice a week is class, the other days on the floor (we do 8 hr shifts). I think if you don't feel prepared speak to the manager and see if more time/resources are available. We have had some people end orientation early because they are basically independent before the end date, and others who needed extensions.

My CVICU/OH orientees attend critical care course 1-2 days a week to learn the CC basics including rhythms and drips (with an exam at the end), which runs concurrently with orientation.

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

As an experienced nurse in my opinion, 7 weeks is reasonable and along the lines of other orientations I've seen to transition to ICU. Of course if you don't feel ready, make sure you're communicating this with your management and educator to see what options there are.


ETA: Also I think as an experienced nurse there is an expectation to do your own learning as well. 

Edited by JadedCPN

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

On 8/26/2020 at 9:44 AM, LibraNurse27 said:

At my hospital when we go from Med/Surg to ICU we get 12 weeks of orientation. Once or twice a week is class, the other days on the floor (we do 8 hr shifts). I think if you don't feel prepared speak to the manager and see if more time/resources are available. We have had some people end orientation early because they are basically independent before the end date, and others who needed extensions.

maybe its dependent on hospital.  The 4 rural hospitals in the area where I live have annual required strip reading classes for all nurses, PALS and ACLS are required for all nurses, and there are drip protocol classes given at various intervals during the year that are required for any person that is interested in CC that must be taken prior to applying to transfer. Possibly why a shorter orientation. 

As @JadedCPN noted, as an experienced nurse, there may be expectation that you do some self learning as well

Edited by Hoosier_RN