I was a new grad in the ICU.
How did it go?
Not so good at first.
Orientation and the initial year after orientation was pretty terrible. For both me and my patients, honestly. I should not have started in my ICU--I had zero health care experience, not even as a CNA. I was also horribly nervous and timid and unsure of myself. Looking back over my first few months after orientation, I can't believe that I didn't kill anyone. I cried every day. I threw up from stress many times.
It was not a good experience. If I had it to do over again, I would have started on a med-surg floor and worked my way up.
That was my experience (pretty timid person, scary-sick ICU patients, no healthcare experience, but Unit is super-short-staffed, so you got hired!), your experience might be different.
Having said all that, I did make it. I'm still there, eight years later. We've had a new Manager for the last five years, and she is wonderful. I am a resource and expert to many other staff members. I am the go-to preceptor. It's pretty great, and while I might grumble sometimes about having to wake up early to go to work, I love my job. I am exceptionally good at my job, and that feels amazing, every day.
Do you wish you had prior experience in another unit before the ICU?
I absolutely, 100% wish I had. I would have been so much better prepared with a year or two of med-surg under my belt. I am not exaggerating about how bad that first year after orientation was.
Having said that, I have precepted quite a few new grads. Nearly all of them have been equipped, inquisitive, delightful, knowledgeable, valuable members of our staff. I have been so impressed by their drive to learn and how well and quickly they have adapted to our Unit.
I don't know what they have that I didn't, but they are way better than I was.
Did you feel well-supported as a new grad in the ICU?
Not at all.
Our unit now has a program for new hires for the first year. They meet every few weeks to work on projects?