Leaving the ICU

Specialties CCU


Hey guys. I know I've not posted here because I've been posting in the new RNs thread, but I've just got to get this off my chest!

I began my preceptorship in the ICU in early June, and have absolutely been loving it. Since my mom died, that's the only place that I've wanted to work, and I thought I was doing very well. Both my manager and my second preceptor (the first is the clinical ed. nurse) told me over and over what a great ICU nurse I was making. Last week, I was sitting at the desk doing paperwork when the cardiac monitor went off, reading asystole, and although the regular RNs usually ignore the bells, I was taught as an aide to check the patient...just in case. Well, I rushed back to the room, and the poor patient was in complete heart block, so I called the code and we got her back. After that, it was all hugs and high fives, singing my praises for being on my toes, etc, etc, etc. Well, this week I had my weekly meeting with my manager, preceptor, and the clinical ed nurse, and much to my not-so-surprise, my manager and preceptor didn't show up, not that I should've been surprised, because of the 9 weeks I've been working there, they haven't shown up for any of them. Well, come to find out, they'd gotten together to write a little letter to the clinical ed. nurse saying that they "questioned my comitment to the facility" because I asked to switch a day with my holiday (I worked the 4th of July because they were short handed :angryfire ) so I could see my sister when she comes home on August 20 (which they told me no, I couldn't do that, even though I've got holiday time coming), that I was "too immature to be working in an ICU because I'm so young (I'm 20), and that I'm "too comfortable in my enviornment" and that it should be taking at least a year to be comfortable in an ICU (which I'm defiantly NOT comfortable- I always feel like I'll never learn it all, but once I know what's going on with my patients, I'm ok for the shift at least), and that I am disorganized and lack initiative (and apparently, that's showcased in the fact that my charting is done on time, and I'm out the door at 7, rather than sitting at the desk chatting with the day shift while I rack up overtime), and jeez, would I like to pursue a career in Pediatrics, because with my age, I'd defiantly relate more to the patients?


Now I'm not quite so certain what I want to do. I do know that I don't want to be working in enviornment with the staff so two-faced that they coulnd't even say these things to my face. But I put in two years of clinicals on a M/S floor, and two years of working on a M/S floor as a Aide/Student (which I was allowed to do more than an aide), and just LOVE ICU. I guess I should've listened to the staff at the facility I used to work at when they told me that this hospital has very poor management.

*sigh* What to do, what to do. My house lease is up in November, and since I graduated I'd been toying with the idea of moving South...(I'm from PA). I thought that what I'd do would be to work in maybe like, the float pool, hone some skills, and in the meantime, interview at hospitals, and when my lease is up, I can decide to either stay or go.

And input on anything in this post would be great, because let me tell you, having everything they think about me as a nurse written in red ink on a paper made me even doubt my decision to BE a nurse.


4,516 Posts

I'm so sorry. It seems they have decided for some reason they don't wish to keep you. I would definitely ask for feedback NOW (point out it is LATE) and express concern that you were never given any constructive criticism, so you thought all was well.

Yes they could have been nicer about this. Perhaps the manager has a buddy who wants your position or 'something' unrelated to you. Just smile, sigh, take what they say with a grain of salt and move on. Easier said than done I know.

Please keep an open mind during your conversation and examine if some of what they say is true. Only you know.

I empathize...this is tough to take your first job out of school. Look for a place with a new grad internship and a strong inhouse education dept to help you get another start somewhere else. ICU is a tough 1st job for a new grad, even with a dedicated internship..

You don't want to stay in this unit. Somebody in power obviously does not want you there, so you don't want to be there. (it took me awhile to figure this one out...but we choose our battles in nursing) Good luck and keep yer chin up!


1,060 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry, ICU, Resource Pool, Dialysis.

I agree with mattsmom about definitely not staying in that unit. Just the fact that your preceptor and manager didn't show up for your weekly meetings tells me that they're not dedicated to encouraging your development. Just please don't take the negativity of this experience to mean that you are somehow inadequate, or incapable of being a fabulous nurse!! Like mattsmom said, it sounds like they may be taking a pebble and turning it into a boulder to make room for someone else.

I'm not sure if a float pool position would be good for you, either. You have enough to learn right now without having to learn it 5 different ways for 5 different floors. If you're comfortable with that, OK - but I wouldn't be!

:) :) Good luck!!


2,450 Posts

These people don't deserve a dedicated young nurse like you.

It says alot about the managment style of people who don't show up to an important meeting. Telling you that you would be more comfortable in paediatrics because you are 20 y.o. bordser on age discrimination.

Mattsmom and Pricklypear may be on to something. Sounds like your NM has a buddy she wants to put in your position.

Get out of that place and find a good ICU where the people appreciate your dedication.

Have you considered Parkland Hospital in Dallas? They have one of the best Critical Care nurse training programs in the country.




3,322 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I had a similar situation when I first started in ICU. ICU tends to have assertive people that know and keep a pecking order. You can't violate that order. You simply didn't know your place. Not all ICUs and not all ICU nurses are like that, though.

My advice, find another hospital (I wouldn't even wait till November, I'd quit now). Get a tele job (because they lead into ICU more than others) at a larger facility - even if you have to move because you said you were thinking about that anyway - and find your way into the soonest critical care intake program you can at that facility.

I love ICU. I bet you will too. But, in order to stay in ICU, I ended up going to another facility. If ICU is what you want to do, there are 5000 hospitals in the U.S. - don't let 1 of them stop you - you have 4999 other options.




23 Posts

Hey guys. I know I've not posted here because I've been posting in the new RNs thread, but I've just got to get this off my chest!

...Well, come to find out, they'd gotten together to write a little letter to the clinical ed. nurse saying that they "questioned my comitment to the facility".....that I was "too immature to be working in an ICU because I'm so young ... I'm "too comfortable in my enviornment" ...and that I am disorganized and lack initiative..

nurse written in red ink on a paper made me even doubt my decision to BE a nurse.

Sounds like I would want a representative from HR. Clinical educator? The comments above dont speak to any competencies that werent met - and you havent stated a particular incident...it sounds like they got everyone involved so the accountability is spread out... So that only leaves one impression with my mind...

Unfortunately cc units have their own dynamics and cultural fit. Why waste your talent here. When they interview people sometimes they dont take into account those already there. I have worked with a few whackos - LOL -another post another day.

There are critical care units everywhere. I am shocked in this shortage that they can afford this. It bizarre that they didnt address this earlier. They have already $$$thousands - thousands$$$ of dollars by the time you are done cc course, tele course, and time paired with your preceptor. Perhaps an administrator out there knows the current cost - it was $90K for a new cc orientee when I researched in early 90's.

Chin up - you sound smart with a great career ahead of you. If you decide to resign - exit gracefully - people show up in other facilities.

The age comment I am not surprised about - many in ICU feel new nurses shouldnt be working there. I dont happen to agree - many fine nurses started new there.

I have observed some preceptors and fellow nurses mark someone from the beginning of their orientation and excuse the same behavior in other new nurses.

I wish you the best...dont doubt your decision to be a nurse

jealousy is an ugly thing. i definitely wouldn't let them run you away from a job you love, but if it is going to be hard for you to deal with them and if it will take a toll on you then I would suggest that you go ahead and move since you were thinking about doing that anyway. But you should definitely stay in ICU. You seem like a wonderful and very competent nurse. Where do these idiots get off!? It's obvious that they are just jealous. If you were lazy like they were there would be no problem; they feel threatened by your "go get it" nature.

What did the higher ups say to you in the meeting? Did they make any type of decisions or just made you aware of the information to get your side of it?

I find it very disturbing that when you all get a code (the code you were referring to), that they "usually ignore them". That's very scary! I hope and pray I never have to be admitted to the ICU!!!:(


75 Posts

Thank you all so much for your responses! They REALLY helped me to not feel so awful/incompetant/worlds-worst-nurse. Last night was my first night back at work (I work 12's, with 8 hr days tossed in there for orientation classes), and let me tell you...grr. I was out on the M/S floor, but had to get my scope and pocket-thing with my pens in it in my locker in the ICU break room. WOuldn't you know that they treated me like the plague! The asst. manager didn't even speak to me, although I gave her the biggest sweet-as-sugar grin that she probably got a cavity. :D I went to the Surgical floor, to be exact, and it was ok. I mean, it's not anywhere near the ICU care wise, of course, but it's somewhere that I woudln't really mind working until my apartment lease is up.

As for leaving right now, my lease is up Oct. 28th, and as much as I'd love to break it, that $400 security deposit will come in handy for my next apartment! I looked at a few hospitals- ETCH, UTMC in Tennessee, and UKMC in Kentucky (my best friend starts grad school there in September, so I'd know SOMEONE at least!), the Parkland hospital that sunnyjohn suggested (thanks!). All seem to be very people friendly hospitals, so I thought I'd cruise around the state-by-state section of this page and see what the actual employees thought.

Again, thank you all. It's a lot easier hearing words of wisdom from people who have been in the ICU!

Surgical Hrt RN

123 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care Baby!!!!!.

Well, as a nurse educator and ICU nurse, let me tell you, that this happens more than you could ever know. You did not fail them they failed you. You should have had weekly meetings with your preceptor,manager, and Clinician to track your progress. This is the only way to know how you are doing, what is going great, what you need to work on, etc. By not doing this, they set you up to fail.

ICU is a hard environment to work in, and I went straight to an ICU after graduation because I loved it and knew I could do nothing else. It can be done. I have worked in a lot of hospitals and unfortunately, all the ones I have worked in display this kind of behavior, some more than others. Nurses are their own worst enemies. Rather than embracing you and teaching you, and making you into a great nurse, and someone that could back them up when their patient crashes, they make you feel like crap, and try and make you quit. I don't understand it. They would rather work short than invest the time in you and have someone there that is dedicated, will work extra hours, and from what you have shared, is on top of things. It angers me that this continues to happen, and I am sure that it will never stop. But I feel that you should continue on with your career and desire for ICU,and after you have worked in ICU for a while and gain some experience and years of wisdom, remember how you were first treated and take those new nurses under your wings and give them the tools to fly.

Specializes in PeriOp, ICU, PICU, NICU.

Sorry to read this. Hope you have better luck and experience somewhere else where they will value you. Good luck to you. :) Something way better will come your way soon.

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