Welcome to the world of the ICU! My first year as a nurse took place in a SICU/MICU and I started the job 1 month after I passed NCLEX. Here are some pointers for working in the ICU that I found out (some the hard way
1: As stated before, be yourself. If you try to put on an act, your coworkers will know (ICU nurses are good at reading people).
2: Stay Calm. The respect that you get while working will partially depend on how well you do in times of crisis (codes, etc..). It is not wise to loose control of yourself and start to panic. Stay cool, calm and in control.
3: Be assertive. I know it is hard to do this when you are brand new, but it will go a long way when you do it. If you think/know something is not right, say so. Many doctors would rather have you call them for something minor (that you thought was major) than not call them at all or not for the major things. You are an advocate for the patients there who (mostly) can't talk; stick up for them!
4: Use your preceptorship wisely. Your preceptorship is the best time to learn the attitudes and ways of the MDs and how things are generally done. Use this information to build your own style of care when you are on your own. Its not wise to be a "loner" on the unit.
5: Help your coworkers: Being a team player is essential for the ICU, if you aren't....starting looking for a new place to work.
6: Things to start studying: Ventilators (MUST), ABGs, Hemodynamics (CO,CVP,MAP..etc), Meds (sedation, VASOPRESSORS
, and a general wide variety), wound care (JP drains, and other surgery related wounds). Main key in learning information is...Do not just know what and how...but WHY
Hope I did not scare you out of a job that you did not start yet. Best of luck to you and if you need any advice...just have fun posting.