Well, today was my first day of orientation. Just the basics: benefits, name badges, parking decals, etc. This lasted from 7-1 and then i finally got to visit my unit again (NICU).
As soon as we arrived to the unit we were met by the unit nursing educator, and each handed a very large (1.5-2 inches) binder full of info. We took an easy med calculation test and went over scheduling. I assumed they would ask us about our schedules. Instead they had already made out our schedules for us. I'm continuing school, so this was a problem. The manager did not seem agitated that she had to redo my schedule, and all the employees were extremely nice.
Tomorrow will be another long day of corporate info, and wed-fri is testing, iv, phlebotomy, risk managment, etc.
Overall, i'm excited and think i chose a good hospital and a good unit.
I'm still a bit intimidated by all the info given to us, and i was relieved to hear them say they do not expect us to know alot of things.
Just wanted talk about my day. My friends and family have probably heard enough. CR
Aug 13, '02
I'm glad it went smoothly for you. My first day of orientation ended early with me puking in the restroom from a stress-induced migraine. Needless to say, it was all up hill from there!
Aug 13, '02
Congratulations on making it through your first day of orientation! It's great that you considered the med test to be easy as medication calculation is soooo important in NICU. You'll do great.
I still remember how overwhelming my NICU orientation was (this was 15 years ago and I'd already had 10 years of adult nursing as well as 1 year of WBN and level II NICU nursing
) So much to learn (and unlearn
- all of the adult stuff).
Get lots of rest, don't forget to eat/drink, and treat yourself to something special at least once a week for all of your hard work!
Keep us posted on how things are going and any questions you have.
Welcome to NICUland!
Aug 13, '02
Thanks for replying to my message. Although i have not actually started my first shift in the NICU with my preceptor, i already feel some of the stress. They really do not cover or emphasize anything r/t the NICU in nursing school. Today, the nurse educator went over some of the equipment we'll be using and everything looked so foreign. I figure, once i get on the floor and actually use it, i'll learn & remember everything easier.
Yesterday, the president of our hospital spoke to the new employees and specifically singled out the NICU staff. he asked us if anyone was going to be working there. There were 3 of us, and he just congratulated us on choosing that specialty and said that it takes a special kind of person to work in the NICU. This is definetly true. With all my jitters, i'm still extremely excited!
I'll definetly be visiting allnurses.com and asking many questions to the fellow NICU nurses.
Last edit by Nicunurse_RN on May 2, '04
Aug 14, '02
Congratulations on enjoying your first day in the NICU! It would be neat to begin writing in a little journal at the end of each day to record what you did that day and how you are feeling about everything. Just a few short lines would be enough. In a few weeks and months, when you look back, you'll more easily see how you've grown as a nurse. Very helpful when you're feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
Please keep us posted on your progress! It's exciting for us to share this special time in your life with you. Study well all the new things you will be learning and remember that during this first 6 months to a year you can ask all the questions you want and not worry about what people will think, so take advantage of it now! LOL
Aug 14, '02
wow that is so lovely................I want to work in NICU and I can't wait to apply for a job in that area but I cannot worry about it right now because I have to pass my boards. I currently work on the Tele unit as a LPN but my boards are coming up very soon...I am so nervous about it all.........My job applications will be put in for all the NICU jobs I can find because I started off as a pediatric nurse and I really enjoy working with the lil ones. I hope I can handle it if I get hired as a new grad in NICU. A lot of my friends have been hired as new grads and they have done excellent so that is encouraging for me..........But congrats on your new position and I want the best for you.............AKA "C"
Aug 14, '02
Along with Anaclaire's suggestion to keep a journal, I would recommend taking a lot of notes in the didactic portion of your orientation. I regret that I took few and thought the written materials we were given would suffice. Many times, I went back to the info we were given only to find I didn't take notes on what I was looking for. Don't expect to learn everything in your orientation - 15 years later I am still learning!
I wonder if the president of your hospital had some personal experience with the NICU - like a child or relative's child in NICU...
Good luck on your boards and with landing a NICU job.
Aug 14, '02
Once again, thanks for replying. Keeping a journal sounds like a wonderful idea. I'm glad you mentioned it, because i'm sure that I would have been wishing i did so. Thanks for the advice and support.
Good luck on your boards exotic nurse. I'm sure you'll have no problem getting a job in a NICU. At this time, there are three other girls orienting with me (new grads), and there are about 5-8 other girls who began orientation a few weeks before we did who are also new grads.
My hospital does this system called PBDS with all new employees (RN's, LPN's, Surg. techs, etc) So this is what we did today and will do for the next 2 days. Does anyone elses hosptial do this?
It sure is a thorough orientation. Critical thinking tests, HARD pharmacology tests, etc. I am so tired.
While orienting we are required to do days & nights. I have mostly nights. How do you sleep during the day? I have a hard time falling asleep and because of this i have always followed regular sleep/ wake cycles. I'm sure it will be worse the first couple of weeks while my body adapts, but i want to be fully alert and comfortable so i perform my best and LEARN effectively. Any tips? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks
Last edit by Nicunurse_RN on May 2, '04
Aug 15, '02
There have been several threads on this forum with tips on surviving night shift - do a search for more info.
I have never been able to sleep well during the day, so here are a few of the things I did:
1. A cool dark room is best. Barring that, a fan (also provides white-noise) and eye covers (I prefer a dark bandana folded to about 2 1/2 inches wide - it's softer and easier to wash).
2. In cold weather, I used a heated mattress pad on a timer so that my bed was warm and ready to sleep in when I got home (a large dog or hubby keeping the bed warm works almost as well).
3. Earplugs and/or fan for noise control - which you need depends on your sensitivity and ambient noise level.
4. Schedule adjustment: I ended up working a 12-hour shift every other night so that I could sleep every other night and get caught up. I just couldn't sleep more than 3 hours during the day.
Some people do better if they stay up in the morning and then sleep until time to go to work.
Aug 16, '02
I know it seems overwhelming but you will be suprised how well you pick up things. Ask a lot of questions don't be shy. My orientation was great. I loved the staff for being patient and understanding. They helped me out so much. Never feel a question is dumb you may come across a know it all or someone that has no patience just remember they were new once and you will soar. If you get a chance later down the line join an organization and go to seminars that will enhance your learning as well. Again good luck you hang in there.
Aug 17, '02
Awwwwww thank you both nell and nicunurse_RN for your confidence in my accomplishments I will give it my best try.....and I hope I can be surrounded by encouraging ones as yourselves in my adventures in working in the nicu It would make life a lot easier....LOL AKA "C"
Sep 9, '02
Well, i have not updated anyone on my orientation. This is because i ran across a few problems. Myself and a few other new orientees were feeling unprepared. We assumed that before we started on the floor or shortly within starting we would have tons of educational/didactic portions of orentation. No such luck. They just throw us onto the floor with our preceptors. Our preceptors were not only not explaining anything to us, but they were not even at the bed/isolette side with us. We are all new grads. No experience in NICU. I expected the preceptor to be beside me while doing my assessment and asking me questions. When i asked her to explain charting (i was working nights) she responds "Thats the good thing about working nights, you can just rewrite what was written during the day".
I want to know what is required in what sections of the chart. and why i am doing what i am doing!
Don't most other hospitals have didactic and educational days before even working on the unit.
We thought we would be shown a newborn assessment (mock), discuss charting, etc.
Anyhow, i have asked so many questions throughout the last weeks and have not gotten answers. These questions are r/t little things such as suction set up, o2 set up, ambu bags. Little things i should know the first day.
The bad part is, we talked to our orienation "advisors" about the issue. They acted so concerned and wanted a list of the things were uncomfortable with. They told us it would be done discreetly and would be generalized to all the preceptors. We have 20 orientees right now! So, the list was made and e-mailed to the person who had requested us to do so. The next day at work was horrible. Everyone had been gossiping all night about it. Apparently the e-mail was fowarded to the preceptors. I heard through the GOSSIP that alot of preceptors were mad. They were asking about "the orientees involved in the scandel"
I must say not all of the nurses have been this way. A couple have commended us on asking questions. They realize it is our orientation. They realize that by our preceptors behaviors, the unit is at risk for having a whole crop of nurses who do not know the basics or what they are doing. Some of the nurses were shocked at the questions i asked (my 4th wk) b/c they realized it was info that should have been addressed immediatly (within hrs of my first shift).
All we want is to understand the unit. To feel confident doing tasks we should be capable of doing. Now not only do i not believe i'm getting a good orientation, but i feel were being singled out on the unit. This does not make for a good work environment. I only wish i didn't sign the contract for the sign on bonus. I'd be applying to another hosptials NICU.
Any advice. Thanks C
Sep 9, '02
I've been in NICU for nearly 8 years now (in UK) we did'n have a set programe when I first started (I was thrown in at the deep end as my preseptor was off on long term sick and not replaced) but thankfully things hace improved.
All the New staff are supernumery for 6 weeks and we now have an ex staff member who has recently taken up the post of clinical nurse educator, she has designed a whole package for new staff, students etc. We also have weekly teaching sesions for all which is nice cos you never stop learning.
Now all new staff are alocated 2 mentors who are responsible for giving support but they all start orintating with nursery nurses on the cot side doing basics nappies feeding etc. befor moving on to anything else we do try to move at the pase of the new member of staff but at times when you are very short It is didicult.
I really enjoy teaching and having students and new staff to work with me (although this can be very stressful at times) but a number of staff don't they just like to "get on with there jobs"
I hope you start to feel a little more confident soon
good luck Karen
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