Unable to get complex patients assigned to me

Specialties Critical


Specializes in ICU.

So I left a smaller ICU where I had experience to go to a bigger teaching ICU to learn things we don’t do. I’ve been here for a couple months now and keep asking to take more complex patients or patients with devices. I am trained and capable of doing these things however I am not confident and have not been able to become confident because I never get the chance to take a complex pt. I got sicker patients at my old hospital. Every time I ask for a certain assignment whoever is charge thinks of a reason why I can’t have it. There is no sharing of knowledge on this floor and multiple nurses have said things along the lines of “well it’s not my job to teach.” This is not a super busy unit, and I understand not wanting a newer person taking care of a super sick patient on a crazy unit but that’s not the case. I’m just feeling frustrated and like I should leave since no one wants to let me learn/practice. So I guess this is a vent and a “what do I do now?” 

You've only been there for a couple of months. They don't know you. Your job for the next 8-10 months is to gain credibility through quiet hard work, situational awareness, interpersonal professionalism,  excellent patient care and a minimum of complaining. You'll get your high profile assignments. The last thing you want to have happen is an adverse event or outcome in a unit where no one knows you. 

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

It will come. At some point they will be busy enough that you will get all the experiences that you're looking for. In the beginning you're kind of like a traveler or float nurse, no one is quite sure what to do with you and until they know your skill level, and that you won't freak out over stuff, they are going to shy away from making more work for anyone else by giving you a heavy assignment. I'm sure it's frustrating at times, but try to use some of your free time with your more stable patients to jump in and help other nurses and get some exposure along the way. Good luck!

Specializes in Critical Care.

Agree with the previous posts...they don't know you. Make sure to offer your assistance to others and show interest in the more complicated cases by stopping by and offering to assist those nurses. Also, take a step back and evaluate if you are approaching those request with the right attitude. 


I had a similar situation when I went from a level II MICU to a Level I CTICU. I would echo the others sentiment in regards to just putting in the work, however never be afraid to advocate for yourself either. I wasn't taken seriously for the first 6-10 months I was there until an RVAD cannula cracked on a patient and I snapped into action, clamped the circuit, and was able to assist in optimizing the patient. Seemed like after that they started giving me some of our more complex patients. Just last week I was working with a patient who was VA ECMO, CRRT, and Impella. Just keep grinding, continue to be a sponge, and silently show responsibility and accountability. 

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