With 4 years of prior experience, you are going in with a leg up on me! I went in completely cold with only school clinical experiences under my belt.
Does your ICU have a series of orientation classes they will put you through? The one disadvantage you may have is being 4 years from school. Did you have a critical care course in your LPN coursework? If not, I can recommend the book I have from school as an excellent one to have.
If you need some comic relief, I can relate a little of my experience starting out in the ICU.
I went back to school in my forties. I gained a great deal of personal satisfaction from having a 4.0 average, graduating summa cum laude, and winning the annual nursing award for the dept. that year. I spent many late hours at the school library to achieve this, and it sort of left me with the sense that I was not a total idiot (ah, the things we assume in life!)
This all changed when I hit the floor! I had a guy for a preceptor who was really hard on me (verified by whispered comments from other nurses who watched us together.) Here is a sample of my typical inner thought pattern on any given day during my orientation:
"This guy is treating me like I am an idiot. Somehow, I know I am not an idiot. But if that is the case, why am I being treated like this? Maybe it's true!!! Maybe I really am too slow and dense to get all this......maybe I am truly not cut out for this, and all I can do in life is take tests and write care plans
. Maybe I should just admit defeat, tuck my tail between my legs and quietly make my exit...."
Two things kept me from folding in those early weeks. One was the conviction, somewhere down in the recesses of my soul, that I actually was NOT an idiot; the other was a life changing day when I visited this board, and read these words:
"NEVER let ANYONE treat you as if you were incompetent!"
I can't remember who posted that, but it struck a chord with me; I said to myself, "That guy will NOT treat me like an idiot!" Something rose up in me that day which was a determination to survive, and I can say today that I am now thriving and am quite content on my unit.
Keep posting, and let us know how it is going. We care, and there are a lot of great folks on this board. If you believe in yourself, you will make it!!!