Published Oct 23, 2004
How is it looked upon for new graduates to apply for work in an Open heart unit? Did any of you go directly into an open heart ICU after graduation? Do you know of a new grad who did?
I'm a senior and I have a teacher who believes that nobody should even work in the ICU without years of med-surg experience. She said, "Back in my day, open heart nurses were the cream of the crop." I think she may just be bitter that things have changed, but I would like a fair view of how you see this issue in your workplace.
I just finished precepting a new grad to our cardiothoracic surgery icu. Her 12 week orientation ended Oct. 10th. She's doing great! I started out in the same manner several years ago just two weeks after my own graduation.
It takes a couple of years to really begin to develop the necessary critical thinking skills and knowledge needed in this environment, but in the right hospital with the right (ongoing) support, there is no reason why, if you know that's what you want to do, that you shouldn't go straight into the icu and I encourage you to do so.
My hospital is excellent at bringing in new nurses and new grads. We have a great mentoring progam (new grads are followed for three years by the same experienced RN) and you will never hear one of our nurses say, "that's not my patient."
I know that many will disagree with me saying what your instructor has said about gaining some experience first on a med-surg unit. But I will never ever work on a med-surg unit, ever. I went into nursing to be a critical care nurse and specifically a cardiac surgery RN and that's what I am.
So go for it! Just be sure you get the support you will need because it is truely overwhelming for the new grad but still doable for the one who's motivated!
p.s. open heart nurses are still the "cream of the crop!"
.....as are all nurses in their chosen specialty!
How is it looked upon for new graduates to apply for work in an Open heart unit? Did any of you go directly into an open heart ICU after graduation? Do you know of a new grad who did?I'm a senior and I have a teacher who believes that nobody should even work in the ICU without years of med-surg experience. She said, "Back in my day, open heart nurses were the cream of the crop." I think she may just be bitter that things have changed, but I would like a fair view of how you see this issue in your workplace.
I disagree with your teacher. My favorite nurses to mentor are new grads. I find them very fresh and willing to learn........and they listen to me LOL. I mentored a nurse that was a surgical nurse (and a very good one I'm sure) for 13 years. Its a different world and I had a hard time getting that through to her.
I was a new grad when I went into the ICU to work. Although I had a strong back ground, was an EMT for 6 years and I worked as a tech in the ICU. I did just fine, although my orientation was crappy. My first job was in a combined ICU, we did Surgical, including OH, medical, CCU, Trauma, and Neuro. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions PM me.
zambezi, BSN, RN
I suppose I am biased since I also started in an open heart/medical CCU as a new grad. I had done a six month full time internship in the unit as a student so I feel that that was really helpful. I have seen multiple new grads do well and med surg/tele or other RNs transfer to our unit and do well. All of our new hires (unless they have critical care experience) get the full orientation and have to take the critical care class--whether they have been working as an RN or are new. I have also seen new grads and trained RNs not do well. I think that it is up up to the individual, how their brain thinks, what their personality is etc.
I started in an open heart unit directly after graduating from nursing school. My orientation was about 13 weeks and I started working nights as soon as my orientation ended. we also get a lot of ICU overflow patients and thoracotomies so I have had a very broad range of experiences. The only thing we don't take are traumas and neuro. I did have instructors that discouraged me from going into the critical care setting right away- but I made sure I found a unit receptive to new grads with a good orientation program. I had a really hard time at the beginning but have a great group of nurses that I work with that are very helpful and supportive. I think I would have had a hard time anywhere I worked right after graduation. It takes time to feel confident- I still have days when I feel scared- but I make sure I ask tons of questions- and if I'm unsure about anything I always check with someone else. I've been out of orientation for almost a year- and am now being put in charge alot of the time- we have several new grads that recently started and looking at them now I realize how much I've learned over the past year. Try to find a good unit with supportive staff and a good orientation and ask tons of questions. Good luck!
Is there anyway that LPN's can get a job working in the Cardiac Unit or is it only for LPN's ?
I worked in a coronary care unit for 4 months doing agency work. We had a LPN there. She did all of our IV starts, helped settle patients, and stuff like that.
I'm still in nursing school, did a rotation thru cardiac intermediate unit. My instructor noticed how much I enjoyed the area, said to let me know when I decide which part I want to work in. She said I wouldn't get the job without a her pretty much telling nurse manager about it, said she would do that for me. I think it's just your instructor. I would want med/surg experience, but not for the crap they deal with! -Andrea
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