What do ICU nurses expect from Med/Surg nurses new to ICU?

  1. I am an oncology/organ transplant nurse that is making the move to ICU next week. I am scared to death. After three years on my floor and my newly acquired certification in Med/Surg I decided it is time to move on.
    I know this will be a whole new world but I am a fast learner.
    I am more worried about what the nurses will think of my skills, "What? You don't even know how to do that?" comes to mind ,
    So what do ICU nurses expect from a nurse coming from Med/Surg?
  2. Visit LaurynRN profile page

    About LaurynRN

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 70; Likes: 5
    ICU and part time clinical instructor
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in ICU, oncology/organ transplant


  3. by   augigi
    I expect you to ask, ask, ask about stuff you don't know. I find it so frustrating when people nod and smile if you ask them to do something, and then later complain they didn't know what you were talking about. There should be a structured orientation period, where you can find out about commonly used therapies (art line, ventilator etc) and read your unit's policies about them.

    Basically all I expect is that you are safe in your practice, and willing to learn things you don't know. We had lots of nurses in my transplant/CVICU coming from the stepdown ward, and I appreciated learning from them, as I don't get to see the transplant outcomes once they leave ICU. Don't undervalue the knowledge you DO have - it is considerable and will help you out a lot.

    Seek out someone who is approachable and competent and make them your preceptor. Write down things you come across that are unfamiliar and check them out after work.

    Lastly, welcome to ICU, enjoy it! We need lots more competent med/surg nurses to come across to ICU. I hope you have a positive experience and learn to love it as I do. Any questions as you go, do feel free to post them here for input.
  4. by   charli
    i am a staff nurse for 2 years rotating in different areas like e.r, med/surg, ob-gyne, pediatric and d.r. & one time assigned in MICU, my first time. good thing the patient in micu was stable m.i, recovering from m.i. but still hooked in cardiac monitor and pulse oximeter & still with side drips of isoket and dopamine. what happened was we had a very long endorsement since it was my first time in micu asking all questions i can think of about the patient., i came to realize though i am flexible,i still have to undergo trainings regarding INTENSIVE CARE which a lot of adjustment if you came regardless of what area, besides you will be expected to knowledgeable and skillful not only in caring and monitoring ICU patient but also skillful in operating and interpreting what you observe in CM or in PO,.. i hope the next time i will be assigned in micu, i have had already completed my trainings in icu:
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]we expect that you already know how to talk to doctors, patients, families, pharmacists, the x-ray department, social worker, etc. we figure you'll know how to drop an ng, put in a foley and give an injection. we expect that you're far better at organizing your time than we think we are, that you know how to discharge a patient so if it comes up we can ask you for help, and that you know how to do the admission paperwork. we expect you to understand the disese process (depending on where you worked before) and quite a bit about the patient's hospital course once they leave the icu.

    we don't expect you to know how to draw a blood gas, shoot a cardiac output or time a balloon pump. we'll teach you that, along with 1001 other icu skills that you won't know. we do expect that you ask questions when you don't understand something -- in fact, we count on that.

    we're happy to have you, welcome to the icu!
  6. by   gradcare
    Basically all I want from anyone getting into crit-care is for them to display an attitude of " I want to learn" and an awareness of their own limitations. If you can't do something don't do it but ask how. If you are unsure of something ask.

    Also I think that an ability to find stuff out yourself and some abilites in how to apply what you read to what you do are also a great attitude.
  7. by   LaurynRN
    Thank you all so much. I have no problem asking questions, in fact it is what I do best. I am the type that wants to know why instead of just how.
    I am very eager to learn but of course scared that I will get eaten alive!
  8. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from laurynrn
    thank you all so much. i have no problem asking questions, in fact it is what i do best. i am the type that wants to know why instead of just how.
    i am very eager to learn but of course scared that i will get eaten alive!
    [font="comic sans ms"]knowing why is a good thing -- it means you'll be a great preceptor when your turn comes!