Starting new position in ICU

Specialties Critical


Specializes in ICU.

Hi all,

I am currently an oncology nurse who has just accepted a new position in an 8-bed unit ICU near home. I have been a nurse for 18 months and I wonder is it considered normal to feel nervous about starting in the ICU. I have toured the unit multiple times and the turn over rate is very low at this job.

I was wondering if I should start studying in prep for this position or just wait until actual orientation starts?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

I am an experienced RN (over 40 years of nursing, 36 years in ICU) and I cannot imagine NOT being nervous when starting a new job! You don't know the people, the physicians, the patient population or the policies and protocols of your new unit. It's a daunting prospect.

That said, I'd urge you to enjoy some fun in the sun now, before you start the new job. I have never started a new job without having to study at home. Homework is a fact of life when you're new. So have fun now so you can buckle down and study once your new employers have given you something to study.

Specializes in Medical ICU.

Yes, it's normal! I just started in ICU and I am scared to death! Lol. (Just finished day 3 of orientation) Besides the fact that ICU is pretty daunting, you're starting a new job with new ppl and have to learn a whole new routine. I've spent the last 9 years in med surg/oncology but I feel like a new nurse all over again. I have a couple of critical care books that I've been trying read through and I keep a notebook so when I go throughout the day I can jot things down that I want to look up later. The nurses I work with are super supportive and helpful and it looks like the critical care nurse educator will be working pretty closely with me and I'll be taking the ECCO course as well. If you didn't have any fear, that would be abnormal and scary in itself, it's those nurses that aren't scared that think they know everything and are hard to teach. Stay humble and ask questions and you will be fine!!

Totally normal to be nervous! I've worked both ICU and oncology and currently do bone marrow transplant ICU. It's always the ones that aren't nervous that have scared me. My advice would be don't be afraid to ask questions. No matter what the other nurses might tell you, they were in your shoes once. It's easy to forget that sometimes. But a mistake can be amplified in the ICU setting as the patients are usually more fragile. Pay attention to details and if something doesn't make sense...just ask! You'll do great. Just hang in there and go in knowing that the ICU is going to be overwhelming for a while. Just don't give up :)

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