New grad ICU

by Nmink Nmink Member Nurse


I am a new graduate nurse that got hired in the ICU of my hospital, my orientation is a 8 week minimum  I've been there for two weeks and feel so overwhelmed. Any advice for a new nurse? I will take ANY advice, 

0.9%NormalSarah, ADN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 3 years experience. 242 Posts

Ask for a longer orientation. 8 weeks is far too little for the ICU (and arguably any floor for a new grad). It’s normal to be overwhelmed, just do your best to take care of your mental state so you have the stamina to get through the days and retain the info you’re learning. It’s hard, but if you stay focused you can do it. And for sure get at least a few more weeks, preferably at least double that 8 weeks.


Specializes in New NP Hospitalist, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,168 Posts

Eight weeks is too short for orientation for a seasoned nurse, a new grad should have MUCH more time on orientation. I think a 16 week orientation is relatively standard for new grads.

That being said, obviously you're overwhelmed. You are just entering a field of practice with the sickest patients you might encounter (except maybe ED), and you're trying to develop basic and advanced skills at the same time. Give yourself permission to be new and unsure, things come with time. 

I think that organization can be key for any nurses transitioning to new areas. Find a good report sheet that allows to minimize the time you need to spend writing and organizing for your shift. Critical care can be overwhelming with task events, so you have to do your best to be efficient. Try to think ahead and grab all of your supplies and meds before you go into the room so you're not making multiple trips back and forth. You need to maximize the time you have on your shift. Learn to delegate tasks that be done by other people and ask for help when you need it. And learn who your best resources are on the unit. Hopefully one of them is your preceptor, but find other nurses that you can go to for questions and assistance. 

Good luck! You're on a big learning curve but you can find success in critical care with some hard work. And make sure you take care of yourself as well, don't spend all your time off studying for work, enjoy your time off with family, friends and hobbies that you enjoy.