is it normal to feel overwhelmed as new nurse in CTICU


Hello.. just graduated couple mos ago from nursing school BSN. I just started orientation on a busy CTICU.. Is it normal to feel a little overwhelmed at 1st>????


canoehead, BSN, RN

6,837 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

Hell, yes.

Even if you aren't a new grad.

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,726 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

Yes. CT ICU can be very overwhelming for sure. Actually it's normal to be overwhelmed anywhere you're a new grad. Hang in there.

RNperdiem, RN

4,580 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

Yes. CTICU's are among the busiest of the ICU's. When I float there I work hard. I normally work in SICU, and notice that CTICU patients come from surgery sicker in a way. They have more drips and attachments than SICU patients, they require more intensive post-op management, and yet are recovered faster. That means in a couple of days removing the swan, capping pacing wires, removing art lines, removing the chest tubes, weaning off the drips and getting people up in the chair before transferring them out so you can recieve another complex post-op patient.


720 Posts

Specializes in CCU/CVU/ICU. Has 15 years experience.
Hello.. just graduated couple mos ago from nursing school BSN. I just started orientation on a busy CTICU.. Is it normal to feel a little overwhelmed at 1st>????


NO, that is unusual. You should know everything by now. :trout:


161 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 15 years experience.

Yes, it is overwhelming for a new nurse no matter where he/she works. Sorry, but I truly believe new nurses need at least 6 mos to 1 yr on a med surg floor before going into any ICU. I say this because of years of experience seeing many close calls with new nurses that don't even realize there is a problem. I know people can beat this to death, remember, just my opinion.


2,438 Posts

Absolutely normal...even as a seasoned and experienced RN.


216 Posts

Specializes in CVICU, MICU, CCRN-CSC. Has 9 years experience.

Heck, I still get overwhelmed some days...I just hide it better now. I cried every night for six weeks when I was in orientation. You will be fine...Just ask questions even if they seem stupid, they are probably not. And if they are well..that's okay too. We all ask them. See every procedure you can even if you don't remember it to so it you are familiar with it. Good luck.


3,322 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 15 years experience.

It's normal to feel overwhelmed ANYWHERE your first year as a new nurse. That is why it used to be the norm that you didn't go into such a difficult specialty without some seasoning first.

But, for the record: the new nurses that DON'T fell overwhelmed their first year? Those are the ones that scare me.

It's not scarey to not know what you don't know. That's called learning. It's a scarey nurse that doesn't know he/she doesn't know what they don't know.



Specializes in STICU, CVICU, Flight. Has 15 years experience.

Amen, Timothy! Just poured my heart and soul into precepting a new grad who quit after he was on his own for only three shifts. And they wonder why I prefer NOT to precept. This dude was arrogantly confident, never had any questions, and never attempted to learn anything new unless I spoon-fed it to him! His type is a good example of why nurses eat their own!!:uhoh3:


As a new grad........if you did NOT feel overwhelmed I wouldnt want you to be my nurse!!

You will get used to everything, but it will not happen in 3-6 months when you STILL feel overwhelmed.... know that it is normal......

I loved CTICU when I worked it....... hated working nights......but loved the unit itself........

Good luck to you!!

deeDawntee, RN

1,579 Posts

Specializes in Travel Nursing, ICU, tele, etc. Has 12 years experience.

It is comforting to me that you feel overwhelmed. We recently had a new orientee on the ICU whose reason for wanting to be an ICU nurse was because having only 1 or 2 patients was so much easier. She didn't last long, let me tell you! So in that vain, I think it would be perfectly OK for you to express some of this to your preceptor(s). It actually is SO normal that if you don't feel overwhelmed, people will wonder what is wrong with you!!! You may feel some comfort if you can let them in on some of your struggle. I really think if you do it in a professional way, it will actually help your easing into the CTICU.

Hey, good luck.

:uhoh21::uhoh3::bluecry1::eek: (it is OK to feel this way!)

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