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New grad, got ICU!! ANY TIPS?!!


Has <1 years experience.

Hi there, 

New RN here, recently graduated and landed my first job in the ICU. I know this will be tough, but hopefully worth it! I'm excited but also super nervous. I've had orientation all this week and will be in the unit with my preceptor next week. 

What can I do to be the best (brand new) ICU nurse I can be? All the tips you can offer will be greatly appreciated🙏

Keep it real!! (But please no rude comments🙂)


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Visit: Notes on ICU Nursing   http://icufaqs.org/ 

Site has clickable list of topics for those new to ICU--advice with humor!

Hoshio, RN

Has 3 years experience.

Ask lots & lots of questions. The only stupid thing you can ask if not ask your stupid question. When you need more support - seek it out, don't expect people to flock to you. And get on good terms with  your preceptor. Your preceptor is likely going to be someone who knows the ins and outs of the floor, and has a good knowledge & understanding of how the show runs.


Expect to be overwhelmed, need help, and feel ineffective in the begging. Going to an ICU or any floor straight out of school with little experience is stressful. But in time, you'll get your hang on things. 

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

  Make a list of questions at home to review with your preceptor the next day. Also do a little research on the diagnoses you see on that shift, that helped me apply all the book learning.

ICU is fast paced with a lot of  mega egos. If you are afraid of rude comments HERE, it's time to start growing a thick skin. Nobody plays nice in the ICU sandbox. 

Best wishes.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Make friends with the Respiratory Therapist who can teach you so much about vent management.

Jump in and help-when getting a pt back from surgery, help pull them across into the bed, arrange their catheter, attach electrodes. You can do this even if you don't know how to hook up all the lines yet.

Answer the phone when it rings at the desk, try to unjam the printer when needed- these all show a willingness to help and learn.

Leave your pts fluffed and buffed. Avoid leaving IV fluids with low volumes for the next shift.

Be teachable and humble. ICU nurses do not appreciate or trust a know-it-all. Best wishes 🙂