So I am a new ICU nurse about 3 mths now in a small 5 bed ICU. I was a float med/surg nurse in a larger hospital for about 1 1/2 yrs prior to moving to the ICU. Last night I feel like I just questioned my judgement alot. We had a pt. that was on a dopamine gtt that I should try to taper off, well whenever I thought about turning it down the pt's blood pressure would drop and she already wasn't making any urine so I really didn't feel comfortable to turn it off. This morning the day nurse asked me if I shut it off and she is an outstanding nurse and I really want to make a good impression on her. Well I explained my reasoning and I could just tell she thought I should have just shut it off. Then as I was leaving this same pts blood glucose came back as 30. I don't know what I was missing, she was not diaphoretic, not shaking, not lethargic, confused but she always was. She looked worse but that seemed more respiratory than anything. I can't believe I missed something. I just want to make a good impression and I want to be a good nurse. I just feel so unsure of everything I do when I work back there and unfortunately there is little for experienced nurses on nights. Sorry this is so long, just frustrated with myself.
Mar 1, '07
Don't be hard on yourself. Remember this experience, and learn from it. After all that is how seasoned ICU nurses got their experience.
Mar 2, '07
I can relate to your frustration. I know I am being very hard on myself for NOT "just knowing" so much that I see others pick up on so quickly. (I am new to the ICU as well w/o prior nursing experience.)
Everyone says it's normal to feel overwhelmed/scared/unsure in the beginning. But, this feeling stinks! What keeps me going back is the fact that I am pretty sure about what I do and do not know. I always ask and keep safety as my main priority...
thanks for sharing your experience and I hope what Sue said helps you, because it helped me...
Mar 2, '07
I recently had a similar incident. Still beating myself up.. I can honestly said I feel your pain....Knowing you should have done something and just didn't...but then I tell myself " NOW YOU KNOW." Good Luck
Sep 3, '07
Seems like all the stuff I "should have known" and kick myself about later is the same stuff I never forget a second time around ...
Sep 3, '07
Consider a big hug heading your way.
Nursing is a huge learning curve and has you go along in your career you will become more intuned to nursing and things to look for.
Don't beat yourself up but learn from all of these nuances.
It sounds like you did a great job to me so there!
Last edit by Sabby_NC on Sep 3, '07
: Reason: A steekin' mistake LOL
Sep 4, '07
Don't be so hard on yourself. We all have to learn!
One thing I used to do during report was to ask the nurse coming on (if they were much more experienced than me) if they had any suggestions about the decisions I made during the shift.
Doing that reminds people that you're new, and also gives you some feedback. Sometimes it will be negative, but take it for what it's worth. Use what you need. You'll eventually get the hang of it!!
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