New grad in ICU getting some resistance

  1. Hi everyone,
    I graduated nursing school in May and passed my boards a couple months later. While in school I was chosen for a critical care internship which led to a position as an RN in my hospitals' MICU. I have never worked in Med-Surg, and frankly I'm glad I didn't have to. The hospital is putting me through a critical care course and I work with my preceptor for six months before I'm on my own. I've been on the floor for two months and I love it. I take my own patient now and ask questions when I need to. My preceptor thinks I'm doing a great job, and personally I think I am as well. (Depite not having that year of Med-Surg people seem to think you need) Most of the nurses on my floor have been great, but some can get reallly ignorant because, God forbid, I didn't have to do the year of two of Med-Surg that they had to. I just wanted to get some general idea from some more experienced nurses here why anyone even cares if I did any Med-Surg or not. I don't think these programs are going anywhere for new grads, even if they were born out of the nursing shortage. There are so many nurses with my kind of story who are doing well despite their lack of Med-Surg. Thanks for your input.
  2. Visit jessiepilot profile page

    About jessiepilot

    Joined: Sep '01; Posts: 2


  3. by   KC CHICK
    Hi jessie,
    I'm not in the ICU, but I also landed a job in a specialty that was not previously open to new grads. As early as 2 years ago, most hospitals would not even think of hiring a new grad into the OR. The hospital I work for just started hiring new grads for the OR 1 year ago last May.....I was hired this May.
    Our nurse educator has told myself, and the other new grad they hired this year, that he thinks new grads are DEFINATELY the way to go!!! We are learning things faster than nurses that have been hired from the floor....possibly due to being fresh out of school w/the "in school" learning mode still on. We have also gotten the same feedback from the dept. Mgr and other RN's in the dept. We don't bring with us any preconcieved ideas or "habits" from another dept. And, because this department is unlike any other area in the hospital.....that is a very, very good thing.

    I agree with you, I think specialties' falsely thinking that a new grad cannot learn, or handle the job is now OVER!!!

  4. by   CC NRSE
    Don't let them get to you. Some people just have it embedded in their brain that you need med-surg experience. While you do gain valuble experience on the floor,...I don't think everyone always needs it. I think it takes the right kind of person to be a good critical care nurse. To have those critical thinking skills. Sometimes, matter how long you have spent on the floor,..people never come to that line of thinking. Sounds like you are in the right mind frame! Be agressive,.....ask questions,....and DON'T be afraid to ask for help. It takes a while,....even years before you are completely comfortable. Just keep up the good work and don't let others discourage you!!! Keep us updated on your progress!!!

    BEST OF LUCK!!!!

  5. by   PhantomRN
    Jesse, I think you need to consider that some of these older nurses where around when It was considered a right of passage to get into the unit. They were REQUIRED to do so many years on the floors to earn the right to get into the unit.

    Not that their attitude toward you is right, just consider where they are coming from. I think a little may be envy and some fear. It took them years to get where they are because of the old system. They may be afraid you will walk in and take away their opportunity to move onto a desk job, just by virtue of your young age.

    Personally, I would NOT ignore them nor would I make them my enemy. They have been around for years and seen so many things and have a ton of knowledge in their heads. I would tell them how much you respect their knowledge and years of experience. This is what I did.

    I recently went into the unit as well and had a few tough cookies. After I approached them and told them how much I wanted and respected their opinion they have been great. Anytime there is something interesting on the floor I am brought in to see it. I am no longer considered a threat to them.

    As far as the statement that it takes the right type of person to be a unit nurse. I disagree. NURSES ARE A GREAT GROUP NO MATTER WHAT THE SPECIALTY. I think to be any type of nurse requires one who is confident, willing to learn and be handle the rigors of the environment they want to go into.
    By this I mean, I know I am fully capable of handling the rigors of say the OR, Med/surg or L&D, but it is not my desired place to be right now.

    As you can tell I have a great respect for nurses in general, not just ICU, OR or Med/surg. My biggest advice to you would be dont box yourself in. A Med/surg nurse today could be an ICU nurse tomorrow and an Ortho nurse the day after. There are endless options.
  6. by   CC NRSE

    I think you misunderstood my statement. I did say , it takes the right kind of person to be a GOOD unit nurse. Now,..let me explain. I realize they are nurses out there who care nothing about what we do. They are happy in the OR, PACU, L &D, Floor,...etc. I also think it takes the right kind of nurse to be a GOOD Floor, OR, (and others) nurse. I admire the floor nurses to be able to take 8 - 10 patients, give all their meds, do all their Tx, and still manage to get out on time. That is organizational skills I will probable NEVER possess. On the other hand,...I have also worked with some unit nurses,....who didn't seem to have the knowledge (even though they had been in the unit ten years) to be there. I guess that's why there are so many options. Different strokes for different folks!!!

    I guess,....there are some people who just go through the motions, I'm sure you have seen too. But I truely believe to be GOOD at anything,...your heart has to be in it.

    Jessie,...I'm sure you will do fine. Phantom is absolutely correct as far as learning from some of the experienced nurses. Befriend them, and show them your willing to learn. And if they don't come around right away,....don't let that bother you. They will eventually!!
  7. by   PhantomRN
    What you say CC Nrse is sad but true. I have seen many nurses out there who seem to care very little about their jobs. For those people I will generally encourage them to seek out other areas of nursing, until they find something that satisfies and stimulates them.

    It is not enough in our profession to graduate school and assume that is all one would need to know in this very diverse field. Our chosen profession is one of continuous learning. Those who opt out of learning soon fall behind, no matter what area of nursing.
  8. by   SICU Queen
    It doesn't matter to me either way if a nurse has had "the year" or not. What matters is a willingness to learn, be open to constructive criticism, and make the patient the priority.

    A good nurse is a good nurse. Period.
  9. by   erezebet
    I am also new to MICU but I had 2 years experience on a step-down unit after graduation. I sometimes feel like my basic nursing skills are being picked apart by my ICU preceptor. I am completely competent with basic skills, I just don't do it her way. What I want is for someone to take me aside and tell me "This is important. This is what you need to know as an ICU nurse". I often feel like some nurses hold information back because someone, somewhere made them learn the hard way and god forbid they turn around and share any tips or tricks with me. I do alot of research at home on my own and am determined to be a good ICU nurse.

    Anyway, good luck with your job!!
  10. by   sweetnurse11
    I want know how can I post my question in nursing discussion. Thanks.
  11. by   tsw
    I want to be a good ICU nurse also. I will keep up with this site to see if you have any suggestions to new grad ADN going into ICU. Frankly, one of the reasons that I want to go to ICU is because of the fantastic preceptorship program offered there.
  12. by   fedupnurse
    I started as a new nurse in the unit a long time ago! I had the benefit of knowing the staff before I became an RN because I worked in the unit as an aide. I knew who I could trust and who to not bother with. I was lucky. Most of the staff then had 10 or more years ICU experience. Now there are 3 of us on my shift with 10 or more years experience! Scary huh?
    Don't let the jerks get you down. Seek out people like myself who like new staff and do what I can to make them feel welcome. My famous line is the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. I also intervene if I think someone is in over their head. Most of my colleagues appreciate it and the ones who don't I stay away from until they ask (unless I think they will kill the patient-then I intervene despite their objections). Before you know it you will be the senior nurse mentoring the new staff.
    Med surg experience is a crock. Those poor slobs are so busy trying to give minimum basic care because of their ridiculous and unsafe patient loads that they don't learn anything other than how to get thru the shift alive. I have the utmost respect for Med Surg nurses-I don't know how they do it.
    Good luck in your career. The fact that you are asking shows you care. Sign of a great nurse!
  13. by   prn nurse
    In defense of ICU nurses: You walk into an ICU, and the nurse is just standing there...or sitting there, half-ass looking at the monitors. She certainly doesn't look busy. Why not ask her if she can help you with your patient? Maybe she can assist with suctioning, assessing b.p. response to vasopressor, changing that drainage bag, checking that chest tube or dampened A-line waveform?
    All ICU nurses know the dozen things going thru your mind as you are standing there mentally assessing/prioritizing what is going on with your patient and trying to decide what the next intervention should be. If you were the patient, what do you want your nurse to do?
  14. by   ladyj
    I am also a May 2002 grad who was hired into an ICU. This was the first year they were hiring new grads, and the Director of Nurses at my school told me that she thought it would be a good preceptorship program for me to get into (she even called the Nurse Manager to schedule an interview for me!)
    Yesterday was my six month anniversary and I am ready to get out of there. My eight week orientation (I was told I would have 12 weeks, but it was shortened, to my dismay) was so exciting and enjoyable. I was even asking to come in on a day off just to follow an open heart surgery patient from the OR through his first post-op day. All the nurses were really helpful, and I was constantly being brought into rooms to share in procedures and other things.
    Right now, though, I feel stuck in a rut. Since my being there, seven nurses have quit. We are now relying on travelers to fill the holes. I am now also just another body to fill the holes. I am constantly given patients that they know I can handle, and very few learning opportunities. The nurses don't have the time to teach me, and most times I don't have time to look for new things to learn. We are supposed to have a 1:2 ratio, but I usually get three; one night I was given 6 patients. I am beginning to doubt my abilities as a nurse.
    It makes me sad to think about it, because I was so excited when I graduated. My instructors told me that I was one of the best students they had ever had. I loved learning all this new stuff and couldn't wait to put it into practice.
    I thought that maybe I was just expecting too much until I got close to some of the travelers. They have been to several hospitals and said that ours needed to make some serious changes. None of them have renewed their contracts and end up counting the days until they can leave.
    One traveler in particular that I have become close to is leaving next week. I'll probably cry when she says goodbye. She has taken it upon herself to teach me something new everytime we are working together and to constantly tell me that I am a good nurse. She tells me that I really need to get out of here. She has been in nursing for over 20 years and I trust her opinion. I was beginning to wonder if I had chosen the wrong profession, but she helped me have a little more faith in myself.
    So I have decided that I do want to be a nurse, in fact I LOVE caring for patients. I just need to be in a different setting. I don't know if I need to be something other than an ICU nurse or I need to just not be in this particular ICU. That is the struggle I am having now.
    Another thing that makes my decision difficult is that my Nurse Manager found out that I wanted to leave and said she would double my pay if I would stay. She said she I couldn't leave because she had "too many plans for me in the future."