New Grad about to be interviewed at ICU...Needs advise!

Nurses General Nursing


Please help!!!! I'm panicking here....I just got a call from one of the hospitals I've applied at and they would like me to come in for an interview tis Friday and it's in the ICU... I'm a new grad and no previous experience ( I only went to the ICU during my nursing school once and it was all for shadowing an ICU nurse and observe)..Yikes! I know I'm not ready for this type of nursing position but I did not want to let the offer down and I don't want hiring manager think less of me. I'm so nervous about this interview.

Now here are my questions:

1) How should I present myself when I come in for the interview?

2) What is expected of me and what should I expect from them?

3) What is the job like in the ICU?

4) What is the nurse-patient ratio?

5) What type of orientation do hospitals usually give to new grads in the ICU?

6) How should I prepare myself prior to the interview?

7) Is the ICU recommended to new grads?

I'm really nervous and scared. Also, I just moved here in CA and we are still in the process of settling down (got here 4 days ago) and finding child care for my kids. Then I haven't taken the NCLEX-RN yet but I'm scheduled to take it on July 15th (just got my ATT today).....Do you guys think going straight to the ICU for my first nursing job is crazy?

Alot of these questions you asked would be excellent to ask at your interview. Keep in mind that not only are they interviewing you, but you are interviewing them as well. Be sure to ask how long of an orientation period you will receive before being expected to care for pt's on your own. If you don't find the answers to these questions acceptable, let them know that also.

I know 2 students that I graduated with one year ago that went straight into ICU with no experience. They have both done well.


4,177 Posts

if they know you are a new grad then they will be prepared to intensify your orientation

if you are incomfortable going into this part of nursing then be up front and ask to be put on list for next med-surg, ob etc when it becomes available

i am a great believer that sometimes when you trip you fall into a field of clover

maybe this will be your dream job..don't close doors unless you are sure that this is not for you


76 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Do you mind if I ask which hospital it is that you are interviewing with? If you don't want to post it, just send me a private message.

Good luck!



15 Posts

My goodness you asked a lot of questions, I'll try to answer them as best as I can

1. Present your self as well prepared and self assured (no not the snotty I-know-everything kind of self assured) let then know, by your attitude, attire and demeanor that you have studied hard, you know that, with a good orientation, you are ready to take on any challenge. Don't look like you are overwhelmed or scared (though you might be). Most importantly make sure that you present (both in word and action) that you know that you do not know everything, but are not only willing to learn , but also excited for the opportunity (thank you to Katie Rn for the last part, she was looking over my shoulder)

2. Any ICU that is worth it's Salt should offer a very extensive orientation (i would say at least 3-6 months. they should include classroom and a preceptorships. The Fellowship that I have joined offers 6 months, with time on each of the three critical care floors and tons of classroom time (pacers, hemodymanics, renal and the like) you should be sure to ask this. During your Interview, they are going to ask priority questions. ( i was asked "What would you do it your patient's Bp was in the 50's?" I reponded by saying 1.What is the patient doing (ie pooping :chuckle )2. how is patient tolerating (not passed out) 3. What are your protocals (monitor urine out-put, give albumin ect) 4. Intervene as you can 5. call MD (special thanks to Katie who is now correcting my spelling :rotfl: )

3. In the ICU your job will be a combonation of fast and slow paced, some days you will never sit and others you may be a bit more slow (depending on the size of the hospital/ area that you live. you will see EVERYTHING>>>>>>>>>> from L&D that has gone bad and an 80 year old in liver failure, you will be expected to be ACLS cert. and be comp. in an emerg. But that will come with time. you will be able to make decisions on your own and with the MD

4. For my hospital the ratio is 1:1 or 1:2 never over 1:3

5. OOps i answered this one, see above

6. Be calm, know your stuff, write your questions down

7. Yess i think that some new grads are able to do ICU, not all but some. Maybe you could ask to do a job shadow

Any way i hope this helps, you can write me if you have any more questions (can not guarantee that Katie will be here then though)



42 Posts

I would be sure to ask questions about staffing- does this unit have a large turnover- or do nurses stay. What is the orientation like- will you have one preceptor or be put with someone different all the time. At my first job I had over a dozen different nurses precepting me- while it was good to see how different people react to situations and see how things can be done differently- there really was no consistancy. I never knew who I would be with until I came in every day. At my present job I had 2 preceptors for the entire 10 weeks and it made a huge difference. How will your schedule be during orientation. Will you be following someone elses schedule- is there time alloted for reading and studying all the info you will be responsible for. Ask if you can come in and shadow a nursefor a day- try to talk to nurses who have worked in the unit for a long time and newer nurses. Find out how supportive the staff is to new grads- do they feel as if they have backup now that they are on there own. Is management available and accessable- does the nurse manager back up the nurses. Ask about support staff- PCA's, respiratory therapists- good respiratory therapists are so important! Scheduling is important- are you required to sign up for on call shifts- how are weekends and holidays scheduled, is there mandatory overtime, is it a unit that does self scheduling- Ask how the doctors treat nurses- at the first job I worked at we weren't treated very well a lot of the time- at my present job it's completely different- very good relationship with the docs- mutual respect- it makes a big difference. I just changed jobs about 6 months ago and these were all issues that came up- hope it helps- Good luck!


146 Posts

To All Of You Who Responded To My Post, Thank You! I Will Be Using All The Questions You've Provided Me During My Interview Especially The Ones About The Lenght Of Orientation And Availability Of Support. I Do Not Want To Reject The Offer Until I Find Out Myself If This Is Something I Can Do As A New Grad. All I Have So Far Are The HorroR Stories I've Been Hearing About The Icu And A New Grad. I'll Go For My Interview And Who Knows Maybe There Might Be Other Units (such As Pediatrics :) ) That Might Take Me In Instead Depending On The Outcome Of The Interview. I Just Dont' Want The Hr To Have A bAd First Impression Of Me For Turning The Position Down...i'm Hoping For The Best Though And Hopefully We Can Come Up With A Better Placement For Me As A New Graduate Nurse. Thank You So Much For Taking Time In Giving Me Advice About My Upcoming Interview. I'll Keep You All Posted As To How The Interview Turn Out....crossing My Fingers....... :) :)

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