Intern needs some good advice!!!

Nurses General Nursing


I am a new RN working in ICU (graduated Dec 2001), and my internship is over in 5 weeks. I am working in ICU, and at this point I don't enjoy it at all. I am a good nurse and I know when to ask questions, but I don't think this is what I want to do. I don't want to think that if I mess up I can really hurt a patient. I know it's normal to feel unready or nervous, especially being a new nurse. I have to sign an 18 month contract at the end of my internship, therefore I need to make a decision-pronto! I am not sure if I should try to find something more enjoyable in a less stressful setting, or give it more time. I would love to hear thoughts, comments, opinions, ANYTHING!!!!!!

Thank you,


rebel charm

9 Posts

As a new nurse myself, I know exactly what you mean. It's a very scary thing holding someone's life in your hands. But I have found that there is always someone somewhere to ask for guidence in a new situation, even if it's a book. I have never been put into a situation that I felt I couldn't handle. And if things did happen to get out of hand, there is always someone with more experience that will give me advice. I have heard stories of new nurses getting a couple of days orientation and then "getting thrown in", so to speak, but I don't personally know anyone that has happened to. But only you can decide if it's not an enjoyable or it's too stressful of a profession for you.

There are alot of different types of nursing areas available. And if you're not happy in ICU, maybe you could try some other kind of job that maybe you would find less stressful and more enjoyable.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do. :D


5 Posts

Thank you Rebel Charm. I don't know why it's so hard to make a decision. I do have coworkers who are willing to help out, but somehow that doesn't calm my nerves. I set high expectations for myself and don't want to be a "quitter". Then again, why do something that makes me unhappy. Thanks again for your encouraging words. BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!:)


487 Posts

as a not so old nurse.....

ur both experiencing something that most if not all of us go through at some point

at varying times in your career you will be faced with these choices

its one of the nicest things about nursing!

we all have insecurities and fears, but just remember that you made it!!

and keep in mind all the positive feedback youve received on your way

only you can decide, best suggestion is that if you do find yourself in an area of nursing youre not enjoying, get out, explore!

its often said that nurses learn what they like by knowing what they dont wanna do

cheers best of luck!


753 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.


My biggest concern is WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SIGN AN 18 MO CONTRACT??? I would hesitate to do anything that requires an 18month sacrifice, ESPECIALLY if I'm already unhappy.


107 Posts

All of us go through the "what if I kill someone" scenario. You must have been a pretty good student if they accepted you in ICU. And If you know when to ask the right question that is half the battle.

IS there a less stressful job in nursing? Haven't you been reading the posts lately? Didn't you read the one about the horrible day one of our co-workers had (and has just about every day, really).

ICU, Med Surg, Oncology, Cardiology. I've done them all. You will feel like this no matter what road you take.

Good Luck with your decision. (18 months?)


4,516 Posts

I think we have all been in a place where we weren't comfortable....and had to decide whether to stick it out or move on.

18 months is a long time to be unhappy, IMO. But if you leave will you have to pay them back a fee like many interns I know must if they leave before the end of the committment? That is a tough choice....

Follow your heart. This is one of the reasons I generally don't recommend a specialty unit to a new grad....and I feel badly you are having second thoughts about your career because of it.

Please consider a stepdown, medsurg, or other setting for a less intense life and death nursing experience, to get your confidence up and master basics. Good luck! :)


712 Posts

Do what makes you happy. I don't believe in being miserable in an area I don't like. When I was a new grad I thought I would love Labor & Delivery because I worked in that unit as a ward clerk and admired what the nurses did. I applied at a hospital, got the job and hated every moment of it. I simply quit! I couldn't see myself doing it I was honest with myself it wasn't my cup of tea! Right now you are in the best time because you have a variety of units to chose from..... Don't feel you are in lock down in an unit you don't like. You will be stressed out and unhappy! Trust me I know how you feel. I do wish you luck in finding your niche! Put yourself first and formost! :)

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I agree with above posters...follow your heart. We are in a great market for nurses now. I wonder too, though, why they expect 18month committment. Did they pay your student loans? Sign-on bonus? Anyway, I've been a nurse for ten years, the last six in busy ER and can't imagine working anywhere else. But that's what neat about being a nurse...there are so many opportunities. Good luck.


5 Posts

Thank all of you for your advice. To answer your questions, no, they didn't pay my student loans, I don't get a sign on bonus, and yes, I have to pay $400 for each month that I don't fulfull my contract. The thing is that I can move anywhere in the hospital system, and still be under my contract. Therefore, I have the freedon to move to a different area. Like one person said before, any area I go to will be stressful, so I just don't know what to do. Thank you again, your comments are much appreciated.

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