just finished week #1 of being an ICU nurse - page 2

I started my first RN job last week... I am working in a community hospital's 12-bed ICU and so far I LOVE it. I have a wonderful preceptor who has already taught me SO much in just 2 shifts... and... Read More

  1. by   pawashrn
    taking the sickest patient may be fun and give you alot of experience and self-gratification. But know your limitations. Taking on the sickest patient can turn disastrous for the patient and the other staff that have to drop what they are to bail you out of an overwhelming situation. Give yourself and patience. Be considerate of the other RN's for they are getting the same pay you are and can only do one job. The one that they are responsible for
  2. by   icubel
    The best thing for you do to is take a deep breath keep moving. I work in a 12 bed SICU trauma and I started straight out of school and only had twelve 12hr shifts of orientation and two weeks of pointless classes and now I have been a SICU nurse for two years and it does get better. Yes what your feeling right now is normal if you didn't have those feelings it would be bad. Always remember when in doubt always ask, its better to ask a question then to wish you did. Sounds like your hospital has a wonderful intership program, just try to learn as much as possible and ask lots of questions. You will never have all the answers but form good relationships with your other colleague that you trust so you always have someone to go to for good sound advise. Make respiratory therapist your best friend they are so helpful. Good luck I hope everything works out.
  3. by   NtannRN
    I was a new grad 2 yrs ago. Scared to death. I had a great preceptor and great classes/orientation. I still get a bit anxious at times when I get a very sick patient. I have the pleasure of working with some exceptional nurses that are always willing to let me bounce ideas off them. We have resident coverage at night so there is always a Doc around. I'm not shy about telling the Doc, Hey, I'm not too experienced in that, could you please explain your rationale, what's the plan for this patient. Stay open to learning. We go to all the rapid responses, I haven't gone in a long time so the other day I asked another nurse to go with me. I want to be the best nurse I can be. I'm at a community hospital and my goal is to get to one of the big city hosp. but I still need to learn more. Good Luck in ICU, it was the best decision I ever made, it makes me proud to be a nurse.
  4. by   pooptacular
    So, I started a grad. nurse program in July and I have my first 12 hour shift with my preceptor tomorrow. I precepted in IMC back in December for my final semester of nursing school for 60 hours already.

    We have had 2 8 hour days on our unit already, but I'm still nervous. Excited, but nervous. It's a big unit- 32 beds.

    I am so SO grateful to have a job right now, and also within critical care. This opportunity will not be offered to grads in the future. I graduated in December of '09, and I was not willing to work anywhere but a hospital. I was hired in June for this position- YAY! The pay is so not great (especially during the 3 months of "training"), but it's steady and it's a job!

    Hopefully, I, too, can check back in 3 months and be loving my job.

  5. by   grandmawrinkle
    Pooptacular, let me just congratulate you on the best screen name I have seen anywhere in a long time. Can we be friends?

    Does anybody else want to be friends? I'm new to the site. I do SICU right now.
  6. by   nursgirl
    well I realized it's been quite awhile since I had come back to this thread and thought I'd update...
    I have been off orientation about 6 months now and love my job! The first couple weeks on my own I was so nervous to go to work and I would get report and then just stand there for a minute.. it was so weird to me that no one was looking over my shoulder.. no instructor, no preceptor.. it was nerve wracking and SO liberating! LOL

    I work with a fantastic team and I have quite a few experienced RNs who I consider mentors and feel comfortable going to with a question. We also have NPs at night who are strictly intensivists.. and they are outstanding! We do rounds with them at night and if time is available they always use it to teach us. So I am cruising into the end of my first year as an RN and MOST of the time I feel competent to do my job and I am ALWAYS learning! If I don't know something I look it up!

    I've had a few nights that at the time I thought were "horrible".. cried on the way home. I was assured that this is also normal.. we deal with alot of stress in ICU... patients dying, patients crashing... also we do not have CNAs or techs on the unit so we "do it all"... and some nights it is simply exhausting beyond exhaustion. I am pretty sure that I am currently holding the title for Code Brown Queen after last week. LOL

    I wouldn't trade this last year for anything in the world.. and most days I still can't believe I am doing this..

    I am wondering how the rest of you who have recently started your jobs are doing... any updates?
    Last edit by nursgirl on Feb 4, '11 : Reason: ..
  7. by   flo136
    Hi. I hope you stick with it. I have been doing it for about 13 years.

    I reckon it took me a good year to get the hang of it, but doing the specialty course helped heaps.

    It made everything 'come together'. 6 months after that my mentor said I was fantstic....but then I got 'burnt out'. And moved from london to Sydney.

    I've been burnt out about every 4 years since.

    New jobs and cities, hospital management. The more senior I get, the more I feel tired of it.

    But the days when I get patient care, and it's a good shift.... I love the job, and remember those first feelings again.

    Keep going!
  8. by   Agrippa
    Thanks for posting your experience. I'm in my final semester of nursing school as a second career changer and am doing my practicum on a large university based ICU where we get very sick patients. This is also where I will be working after I graduate so my practicum is also my orientation (although I will also get an orientation when i graduate, albeit abbreviated).

    The most difficult part for me is that at times I feel totally overwhelmed and wonder if feeling this way is normal and if I am capable of being able to be on my own, doing a code and basically not killing people when I am on my own after orientation. I know that being a critical care nurse is probably one of the hardest most stressful jobs ever...but I tend to be hard on myself and have high expectations. Reading experiences like yours and others on here though helps very much with my own anxiety and learning. Thank you.
  9. by   Bronx1560
    I love to see newbie proud of themselves. This of course couldn't have happen without the hospital critical care program & your preceptor.

    Don't forget the nursing is a forever evolution & new things come out every day. Don't forget to look up the thinks you don't know & of course always ask when you feel that nursing intuition for a 2nd look.

  10. by   Lovelymo79
    I'm so glad I found this posting! I just got hired into a new grad ICU program. The hospital is a Level 1 trauma hospital with a 70-bed ICU! I am ecstatic..and also a bit anxious!! The orientation is a 16-week training, with the option to add on another 4 weeks if need be. I cannot wait to start and hopefully, all goes well with it as it has for the OP!
  11. by   MomRN0913
    Sounds like you have a great program going on. That is a really nice new grad orientation and you seem to ahve experienced alot in your first week. Like the others said, expect to start feeling comfortable in about a year. What your preceptor is doing is right, throwing you in right away. Its the best way to learn. On my first week, my preceptor had me assisting the Dr in an intuabtion, and i freaked a little, but I am glad when she pushed me up there.

    I'm glad you love it. ICU nursing is very rewarding.