Jump to content

New Grad PICU RN

morgs125 morgs125 (New) New

I have been blessed with landing my dream career as a PICU nurse! I will be graduating in less than a month from nursing school with my BSN and will begin work as a PICU nurse soon after. I am so excited that all of my hard work has paid off and that I will be fulfilling my dream of helping and caring for critically ill kids.

Does anyone have any advice on how to approach the start of this new career? I will go through roughly 12 weeks of orientation on the unit, and I am familiar with the staff and unit already due to a previous preceptorship on the unit. However, any advice is greatly appreciated!!


NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

Do NOT let the CNE/manager try to convince you that your preceptorship on the unit is interchangeable with orientation. As a student there were many things you didn't do or experience that you should have to opportunity to do and experience while in a protected role. Being "the nurse" is so much more than you imagine, even though you've been there and seen how the unit functions. Insist that you be given the same orientation as any other new nurse to the unit. Don't compromise!! I've seen it happen to many times... the new grad is led down the garden path, thinking that their preceptorship really is the same as orientation, only to find out that so much of the really important things s/he needs to know to be "the nurse" were either glossed over or deemed unimportant for a student to know. I can't emphasize this strongly enough. DON'T GO THERE!

By the same token, you'll have to work hard to get past the new grad jitters and paucity of knowledge because playing the "I'm new here" card will only work for so long. There will be people who will expect you to know things you haven't learned yet, and that's your cue to learn it ASAP.

Realize that during your first year or so as a staff nurse your patient assignments will be the simple, single-system kiddos and the chronics. Those are the patients you can manage without too much help. Don't be heard complaining that your assignments are boring. As a new nurse you really aren't ready for the sicker kids, and won't be for some time. And trust me when I tell you that those "boring" kids can deteriorate acutely in the blink of an eye and will demand a LOT of attention. If you're unsure about anything, ask questions. It's better to ask what you think is a stupid question than it is to guess and be wrong. Because you've already spent a lot of time on the unit, you should have a pretty good idea who you can approach with those questions and who you should avoid. Look stuff up. Be proactive about learning and remember that you're never going to know everything. Oh, and always keep in mind that those parents that are always getting in your way are actually your best resource, and your extra pair of hands.

But most importantly, enjoy your work. Working with kids is incredibly rewarding.

I'm in the exact same position as you! I cannot wait but I feel very overwhelmed when I try to grasp the reality of it. I would love to hear any advice anyone has.


Specializes in Pediatric ICU.

I'll also be starting out in the PICU as a new graduate. I'm anxious but very excited! I've been reading a pediatric textbook as well as a pediatric critical care case study book just to try to familiarize myself with things so that I can keep up when people discuss different topics. I know reading and textbooks do not make up for actual experience though! From what the trainer told me when I shadowed the unit, our orientation is 6 months long and very supportive. I'm hoping that the orientation combined with my outside studying will make for a fun and safe beginning on the unit!