Is this normal orientation for ICU??

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Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

The preceptor's demands don't sound reasonable... but to be honest, I would have concerns too if said new hire needed a whole hour to cry.

At that point she broke down and cried for a good hour saying she feels overwhelmed and pressured to be expected to work at the pace of an expert ICU nurse.
Take 5, collect yourself, and then get back to work.

Regardless though, it is not reasonable to expect one to function so independantly, so quickly. My unit only gives the new orientees one pt initially. I want to say I was on the unit a good 2-3 weeks before I was taking 2 pts.


68 Posts

Specializes in Cardiovascular recovery unit/ICU.

I went to CVR straight out of school but had a three month orientation or internship in the critical care education Dept specific to my new unit. Then I was precepted for 12 weeks. I worked my way u from 2nd and 3rd day post op open heart to a fresh heart over the course of a few months on my own. This is the best of the orientation world I know but I wouldn't have done it any other way. I found that I am cut out to be in critical care just needed the proper training as I didn't get any critical care training in my BSN program back in 91. If you are a new grad looking for a "graduate nurse internship" is a perfect way to start. Many hospitals offer this.


19 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

I was told to speed up a lot as well. I remember another nurse comment that I was "turtle slow" [emoji34].


24 Posts

Sounds like they just had an unfortunate choice in their preceptor. You win some and you lose some.


1 Post

Tell your friend to keep her head high and keep at it to prove them wrong. I was a new grad in the icu and was pretty much told by the end of my first month that I would never make it as an icu nurse. I not only made it I was the charge nurse after 3 years, sat and passed my corn at 3.5 years and ended up preventing many new grads and students over the years. No one can tell if you can make it after just a few shifts!!


1,526 Posts

I am currently on orientation in the ICU as a new grad. I never had any time limits...Like obviously if im running late my preceptor may remind me that my 9 meds are due etc. But every facility is different.

I would suggest she first have a conversation with her preceptor. She should tell her preceptor she is struggling and ask:

what can be done?

What are some time management skills you use?

Can you show me how you do your assessment so i can better my own?

Is there any faster way to look up her meds? In our Mar we can hover over a med and get a reference manual for that med.

ICU is very intense. It is overwhelming but it truly does take a special type of mentality. Also all that being said, i agree this is unfair and unsafe. Sounds like a very cliquey and gossipy unit. Can she ask for another preceptor?

The expectations that the so-called "preceptor" is putting on this new grad are so grossly inappropriate that a conversation with the manager would be more appropriate than talking with the preceptor directly. This unit sounds like a cess pool.


82 Posts

This unit sounds awful, and like a terrible place to learn. It also sounds like a toxic and/or hostile work environment.

EllaBella1, BSN

377 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

While I agree that it sounds like they are being pretty harsh with her with the time limits, I also can understand the need for expressing how fast paced things can be in the ICU. I was a new grad who went right into ICU out of school last year. My preceptor pushed me and was pretty firm with me at first, and I did feel overwhelmed and cried a few times. BUT by the end of my orientation I felt really ready, and I feel like I was really well-prepared to be on my own. I also understood why my preceptor was the way she was, and she and I are friends now. I think it came down to me working to be less sensitive and opening myself up to the fact that this was all happening for a reason and trying to figure out what it was that I needed to get for it to not seem so overwhelming. It didn't happen in a week for sure, but by the end of orientation I got it.

Edited to add though that my unit was always really supportive from the beginning though- I felt ok to ask any nurse any question and receive help no questions asked. The hostility that the OP described sounds crappy to say the least.

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