New Grad Starting In CVICU


Hey everyone! As the title states i'm a new grad that will be starting in the ICU within the next two weeks. My back story is that I have always been fascinated with the heart which started in my A&P courses before nursing school. A large local hospital will hire nursing students who have completed their fundamentals courses as "Nurse Externs" (Tech's but higher pay). I've always known I wanted to work in the ICU or ER because I like the fast paced/change of both. After completing my first semester of nursing school, I applied to the CVICU at the local hospital and after interviewing, I landed the job about two weeks into my second semester.

Since starting, I realized how much I loved this hospital's CVICU. I don't know if it's out of the norm, but we actually have our own OR suites directly connected to the unit. Therefore, our patients go room-surgery-room, no PACU. We have a rather steady flow of hearts and vascular surgery from time to time.

I'm I have learned a lot since beginning working as a tech. My nursing school does a preceptorship for nursing students in their final semester where they pair us with a nurse to work with for 120 hours (12 hour shifts). If you scored high enough on the ATI predictor and did well throughout clinical during school, they placed you in the ICU. I got the chance to work in the CCU as a student for 60 hours and due to scheduling complications, I was actually able to do 60 hours in the CVICU I work in. My director offered me a job as a new grad nurse which I gladly accepted (nothing really special, I believe most externs get hired where they worked as long as they proved competent as a nurse during orientation or as a student).

SO here we are, I'm really excited and can't wait to get started (just waiting for my license to post on the BON website). I was lucky enough to be able to choose my preceptor's (two due to both taking charge from time to time) both of which think highly of me and I get along great with. I'm incredibly blessed because I was able to have the exposure to the ICU world prior to graduation and have a bit of a leg up on others, but are their any tips any of you could offer? I'm used to the charting aspect of the ICU realm due to the 120 hours of preceptorship and I am reviewing my pressors, drips and relative meds; any advice is appreciated though! I know I'm not expected to know it all and I have already told my preceptors to be ready for the questions which they were happy to hear (means I'm scared and not dangerous lol); however, I am also the type of person who likes to have a general knowledge of the topic that the question is about i.e. "I shouldn't give this med to my hypertensive crisis patient right now because I don't want to drop the bp too much with resultant hypoperfusion right?" rather than, "should I give this?"

ANYWAYS, I feel like I'm rambling here. I'm just excited and ready to join you guys!

TL;DR New grad CVICU nurse, advice welcome!

Has 7 years experience.

You will do great! My biggest piece of advice would be to really dig deep during orientation and figure out what scares you. Eg: communicating with providers, sick admits, comfort care of a dying patient, emergent bedside procedures, rapidly escalating situations, etc. Then do what scares you over and over again until it doesn't scare you anymore. Also: get some good motivational music for your commute to work and a big cup of coffee. Welcome to the CVICU. :)

HopefulGradNurse, RN

1 Article; 109 Posts

Specializes in CVICU/ED, CCRN-CSC, CFRN.

Thank you for replying! Definitely gonna take your take your advice. I actually have my first official shift as a nurse tomorrow night! I'm super pumped, excited and thankful that I am already accustomed to the people and vibe of the unit. That has helped there be little to no jitters. I would say the areas that I'm most worried about is getting sick admits. Only because I know how much work goes into those patients and the fact that our unit will get admits like that from the ER quite a bit on night shifts because we're the closest and we have our own OR's.

HopefulGradNurse, RN

1 Article; 109 Posts

Specializes in CVICU/ED, CCRN-CSC, CFRN.

P.S. Thankfully our unit is tight knit and everyone is very willing to help especially when things get crazy!


28 Posts

How has your experience been so far?? I am a new grad and was offered a CVICU position which I think is great but I am scared! I would love to hear how it has been going so far :)


432 Posts

Hope all goes well for you. Both of you have no idea how lucky you are. Might go without saying, but don't take these great opportunities for granted.

Has 3 years experience.

I was a new grad that started in the ICU as well. The best advice I have for you is to study outside of work and start working toward your certification (even as a new grad!). Buy books, listen to podcasts, and read blogs. You'll do great. Congratulations!

Critical Care Nursing | Intensive RN