New Grad starting off in ICU

Specialties MICU

Published

Hello all!

I am a brand spanking new Registered Nurse that just passed NCLEX on July 8, 2009. I graduated with my BSN on May 16, 2009. I have been offered (and accepted) a position in the ICU at a Level I Teaching hospital. I am also going to be in their New Grad Residency Program. I start August 3 and I couldnt be more excited!

Now my questions to my fellow ICU nurses, how can I make this the best experience for myself and for my preceptor? Any advice? Also, what book(s) should I read about critical care prior to starting my new job? Any pointers or suggestions for a new grad?

I am excited, scared, anxious, and nervous all wrapped up in one! :lol2:

8jimi8ICURN

231 Posts

Specializes in Flight RN, Trauma1 CVICU STICU MICU CCU.

I'm a GN in the MICU. I bought Marino's The ICU Book and I also bought Dr. Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio's CCRN Review Cram. The review cram is awesome, just to get you thinking about the various topics we will be seeing in the ICU. You can get them at http://www.greatnurses.com They are pricey, but they are SO worth it. I've been listening to them on my commutes and just around town.

Specializes in Cardiac.

I also started off in the ICU as a new grad, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Understand that being a successful new grad means home study. You will have to go home and look up what you don't know. It's ok if you don't know something. But it's not ok to do nothing about it.

Your future success is up to you. Good luck!

CoffeeGeekRN

271 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, lifetime Diabetes Education.
Hello all!

I am a brand spanking new Registered Nurse that just passed NCLEX on July 8, 2009. I graduated with my BSN on May 16, 2009. I have been offered (and accepted) a position in the ICU at a Level I Teaching hospital. I am also going to be in their New Grad Residency Program. I start August 3 and I couldnt be more excited!

Now my questions to my fellow ICU nurses, how can I make this the best experience for myself and for my preceptor? Any advice? Also, what book(s) should I read about critical care prior to starting my new job? Any pointers or suggestions for a new grad?

I am excited, scared, anxious, and nervous all wrapped up in one! :lol2:

I am a new grad who will also start in the ICU on August 3rd. I just took and passed NCLEX last week and am excited to start my new career! I am interested in learning all I can from the experienced ICU nurses out there. I will probably go to Borders this evening and do some reading on critical care nursing.

Dreamer-RN

170 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Informatics.

Hello everyone,

I'm also a new grad starting my nursing career on an ICU too (Cardiothoracic SICU at a large Level 1 Trauma teaching facility). I start a little later though, in September. I have a unit orientation and will be participating in the Nurse Residency program.

I am excited, scared, anxious, and nervous all wrapped up in one! :lol2:

This sums up my emotions too! For the moment, I'm taking a little break from studying (took NCLEX earlier this month). However, soon I'll start cracking open some of my Critical Care books. :wink2:

TemperStripe

154 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

I'll probably cause controversy here, but I recommend NOT studying at home. I am also a new grad in an ICU. I love it. I have a fantastic group of co-workers and a great manager and fabulous patients. I really could not ask for more support. However, I make it an absolute point to NOT study at home. I think that part of being a new grad in the ICU is putting your brain into complete, utter, quivering shock for a few weeks at first. I was so completely overloaded at work that there was no possible way I could also go home and read more, even if I had wanted to. My brain simply would not take it. Now I am almost off orientation and, while my brain is much more accepting of more information, I still refuse to study at home unless it's absolutely necessary for a test, class, etc. I use my down time at work appropriately, and leave it at that. One of the most important things we can do as nurses, in general, is take care of OURSELVES. For me, that involves keeping my non-work time filled with non-work activities.

Other suggestions I have are probably really similar to what everyone else will tell you:

1. There are no stupid questions. In the ICU, learn to question EVERYTHING, even something as simple as giving a bath or putting the HOB up or down. Can the patient tolerate it? Why are you doing it? What could happen? If you can't answer those questions, ask someone. People who chastise you are setting you up for failure, and you should ignore them and move on to someone who WILL answer the question.

2. Do not get into the habit of constantly berating yourself. I think ICU nurses are prone to this because we tend to be a fairly type A group of people. And it is only natural to think "what did I miss?" if something happens. You WILL get better, faster, and more adept at what you're doing. Give yourself time. You WILL make mistakes. We are only human, after all. Try to stay positive or you will make yourself ill.

3. We cannot prevent every outcome in the ICU. It is a traumatic place to work, at times. You need to take good care of yourself and your fellow nurses.

4. If you get a chance to float to the floor before you're off orientation, do it! Remember, you will be trained from the start to handle 1-2 patients. It would be great exposure to see how to juggle 5, while you're still on a leash. :)

Best of luck to you!

Cinqly, BSN, RN

358 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Med-Surg, Post-op, Same-Day Surgery.

I am also a new grad in the ICU. I started TODAY actually. I think Caroline makes a good point. Between the orientation material, learning the computer charting system, learning the "rules", learning the mileu of the floor, meeting a thousand new people, and trying to play nurse it is a lot to take on! I think I'll be glad to get home for the first few months, park the car at the right house, eat, and sleep!! I am in a residency program so we'll actually have 1-2 days of classroom time built into our schedule every week, which will be very helpful for the clinical side of things.

Books are helpful too, though. Remember, we all still have our medsurg, ICU, drug and lab books from school. Those are still good references for disease pathology, nursing practice, and common treatments. Another good book I found is Notes on ICU Nursing: Critical Care FAQ Files from the MICU. It's a book that was published after the authors created a website full of FAQ's about the ICU. you can go to the website and read the info for free, but honestly it was worth the money to not half to stare at my computer all the time.

Anyway, good luck to all of us and I'm so excited to finally be working in the ICU!!:D

Specializes in Cardiac.

Quite frankly, it frightens me to think that new grads do not find it necessary to study at home!

It's your choice. The new grads that refuse to do so are usually the ones who fail.

I still study at home.

shoegalRN, RN

1,338 Posts

I want to thank everyone who responded thus far! This is great feedback! However, I'm such in the habit of studying (been doing so constantly for the last 2 1/2 years), that I will probably study at home or on my own time when I'm not at work. A few hours a day is not bad on my off days.

I will sure enough purchase some critical care books before my job starts. But for now, I will head off to Borders and read what I can for free. Money is a little tight right now.

Thanks again!

NCtoCOgirl

9 Posts

Specializes in CCRN-CSC.

Good info about books in sticky thread at the top of this forum. Thanks to all who posted!

I am so encouraged! I am applying in Spring for RN, have an awesome GPA, hoping for ADN acceptance in Fall 2010, and I want to go straight into ICU as a new grad; I just read a thread of about 30 nurses in my state who could not get jobs at all, let alone ICU! So I am so glad to see these posts and that they are recent; and I'm persistent, have already talked to my county's only trauma center ICU recruiter even though I am pre-nursing. She was very nice, called me first thing Monday morning after I emailed on the weekend. But I am determined, smart, and I am going to volunteer for every single thing they let me do while in clinicals; I too am studying for my next semester while on break (month between Summer and Fall 2009)--I don't stop, can't get enough; I might even buy a Saunders review just for fun. Anyhow, I am so happy for all of you; for RNs who want to be in ICU, it's nice to know that perserverence pays off; I'll be "job hunting" during clinicals if I can do it without being pushy. Any advice on the best way to go about getting straight in? Where you previous LPNs or CNAs or techs while in nursing school or really straight in after graduation with no previous experience? I am doing BSN as well, so hoping to get a nursing residency program, and I will gladly give them 2 years if I can get into ICU. Any pointers other than great GPA and being very persistent, without being a pest? My college also offers CCRN certificate; I will talk to an advisor when the time comes, but did any of you do that before, during, after your RN--sorry, I'm pre-nursing and don't know how/when CCRN falls into place. What I do know: I want to be in critical care; life-threatening things happen every day, so I might as well be the one to take care of them since I crave a challenge constantly and truly want to take care of patients at the worst times of their lives and their families as best I can.

Ruby Vee, BSN

17 Articles; 14,027 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

anyone remember the "fired for no reason" thread? one of the reasons sal was fired was that she didn't study at home. ever. her days off were for fun; she didn't crack no stinkin' books.

i find it somewhat frightening that new grads who insist on starting in the icu don't think they need to study in their off time.

+ Add a Comment

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X