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New Grad in the ICU. Is this right for me?

Critical   (752 Views 6 Comments)
by Emmastone Emmastone (New Member) New Member

106 Visitors; 1 Post

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Hi all.  So I am a new grad and luckily got offered a spot in an ICU.  I was so excited to start this new journey that I've worked so hard for.  I am two months in and I don't know how to feel.  I feel so incompetent and stupid.  I feel like a fraud carrying this RN title.  I know I am competent enough to carry on the tasks of an RN.  However, I feel so stupid talking in rounds and to doctors.  I feel like they don't respect me because I don't know much.  It is hard enough to have to learn the medical profession, but to also know how to speak the nursing language has been difficult.  Everything is so new, and I am just trying to float above the water.  Did anyone feel this way?  If so, what helped?  What can I do to get better at this?  I am a notes person and have consolidated all of my notes and bring it with me everyday to work to help me.  I don't feel this is the problem.  I just want to feel more competent.  I take work home with me and look up conditions and procedures that MD's perform that day.  Am I not smart enough for this?  How do you know if this is right or if you can do this? What will help to increase my nursing knowledge?  Help me please.

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RNNPICU has 13 years experience.

96 Likes; 11,691 Visitors; 873 Posts

It sounds like you are just adjusting to the ICU.  There is always so much to learn, it is hard as a new grad.  I started as a new grad in the ICU and felt like I was going to throww-up each and every day that I worked.  By the time I hit 6 months, I felt ready to be separated from my preceptor and take care of a patient by myeself.  And it is true... two months in you don't know much, that is okay, you have only been an RN for 2 months... You can't have learned everything.  It takes time to learn procedures, tasks, diagnosis, etc.  It will likely take a year before you feel some type of oh, I know some things.  

Give yourself a little bit of credit, you are two months in, have learned a lot, and still have time to learn more.  if you have classes as part of your orientation, ask questions about specific patients or diagnosis then and see how your fellow new RNs are.  

Also make sure on your days off you do something fun , rest, and focus on some non-work related things.  Take care and good luck.

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Lev has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN.

36 Likes; 2 Followers; 8 Articles; 55,179 Visitors; 2,796 Posts

Good advice from the above poster. What you're feeling is totally normal for a new grad. Knowledge comes through self study, asking questions, and being open to feedback. And of course time.

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traumaRUs has 25 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

504 Likes; 14 Followers; 127 Articles; 184,973 Visitors; 20,508 Posts

Moved to ICU forum

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33 Likes; 225 Visitors; 44 Posts

Give it time. I think the majority of us feel exactly the same way. I’ve been in the ICU for almost 6 years, and I still learn something new every day. It takes time to develop relationships with the doctors and fellow nurses, etc. 

I chose to try and help any way I could, even if it was just turning a patient. I made an effort to familiarize myself with where everything in the unit was (trust me, this actually worked to my advantage- the point is to DO WHAT YOU CAN) and took in every bit of knowledge I could from the doctors and nurses that were well respected by their peers. 

Do the best you can every day, and ask what you can do better. It gets better. Don’t ever get too comfortable. 

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53 Likes; 1,491 Visitors; 100 Posts

Sounds like you're already doing it.  Maybe buy an ICU specific nursing book for reference.  I had one from the AACN.

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