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Still want to try....

by RNatloss RNatloss (New) New

Hello everyone,

A few years ago I was hired for an ICU position. I was a telemetry prior to that with two years experience. Needless to say, I was extremely overwhelmed and had a preceptor who took it upon him to tell me everyday I'm not good enough, I'm not as good as him. My confident took a nose dive and I cannot function. ICU and I parted. Years later, I am now an ER nurse but there is still a part of me who cannot let go that I could not make it in the ICU. A part of me tell me to let it go, another part of me tell me to try it again. Part of my confidence never return after the experience with ICU. I always think I'm not good enough to be an RN but a larger part of me telling me I'm being stupid bc of course I can be and I am an RN. I find myself looking at ICU residency again. I'm sorry for the ranting but years ago when I started out as a brand spanking new nurse, you guys were there for me and now I really feel I needed your advises again. Thanks for reading my rant.

If it is a challenge you would like to undertake because you have a true desire to learn ICU nursing and care for that population of patients, and if you have the mindset to tough it out and succeed at it...then go for it.

Don't do something like this because of one less-than-stellar experience with a prideful person, though. Who cares what that guy said; there are 7+ billion people in the world and he is one of them.

1 hour ago, RNatloss said:

Part of my confidence never return after the experience with ICU. I always think I'm not good enough to be an RN [...]

That has to change...and that change cannot be dependent upon succeeding in the ICU. You can't say, "if I succeed at the ICU then will feel confident" - that simply isn't a plan for success. The change has to come first. Believe in yourself and you will be more likely to succeed at the things you try.

And...in the end, if we really actually aren't suited for a particular thing, that is not a personal fault. No one (or very, very few people) can succeed at and enjoy every single thing they try.

Thank you so much for answering. I've tried many times to tell myself to let it go, that preceptor wasn't worth it but I find myself occasionally go over the ICU experience with the preceptor from hell over the years. I've had a few preceptors who never sugar coat anything but they were insightful and only critique on things I need to improve on so my confident was sky high bc I can take constructive criticism and I thought I have tough skin. But when I went into ICU the constant bombarding of criticism, that sometimes have nothing to do with nursing, began to erode. What I thought was a boulder size confident became a small pebble. Over the years, I rebuilt my confident but it never reach the size of what I had before. I don't know how to rebuild my confident anymore. Every time I see ICU listing I am reminded I failed.

40 minutes ago, RNatloss said:

I don't know how to rebuild my confident anymore.

One thing that has helped me if criticism has caused me to lose confidence is to carefully (and as dispassionately as possible) evaluate the details as follows:

-Who delivered the criticism and does their opinion greatly matter to me?

-Is it someone I can trust to offer (constructive) criticisms that are in my best interest?

-What do I believe motivated the person to offer their particular critiques and criticisms?

-Do I know there to be truth in what they said, and can I use that for any good?

My answers to these questions help me judge whether to 1) work hard on a particular improvement or whether to 2) "keep it in mind" or whether to 3) blow it off completely. I have done all 3 at one time or another, with the various feedbacks I have received.

Not every feedback is worth being given space in your brain. Some of it has to be ditched outright, the faster the better.

The other thing is that sometimes things bother us and we eventually just have to say "that happened" and let it go. Maybe we could have done better than what we did at the time, but we literally cannot go back and change it. So we must purposefully choose to "forgive" ourselves for daring to fail at something. We are human beings, after all.

I think you sound like you deserve to accept yourself. And I hope you will.


llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

One thing that worries me when I read your posts is that you seem to be focused on "righting the past" more than considering a job change away from a job you don't like to a job that you think you will love. Is it possible that if you go to the ICU, you might not enjoy the work all that much more than your current job in the ED?

If your motivation for wanting to try the ICU again is because you didn't do well the first time and you want to prove to yourself that you can do it ... then I would recommend against it. That is not a motivation that will keep you happy for long. You should only go to the ICU if that is the type of nursing you truly want to do and are confident that you will be happy in the ICU job -- and not constantly worried or stressed about it.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

"there is still a part of me who cannot let go that I could not make it in the ICU. " You made in the ER though.. another complex speciality. Try ICU again.. if that's where you truly want to be. This is all about where your interest is, not the past. Good luck.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

If you can handle ER I think you already "proved yourself" (not that it matters, and all areas of nursing are important). I just mean in terms of taking care of acute patients. There are ICU level patients who come to the ER! When I floated there I saw ER nurses taking care of intubated pts waiting for ICU beds. Think about which area of nursing you think you will truly enjoy 😃