New Grad ICU Nurses: Tips & Advice from an Experienced Nurse
Take it from someone who has been there and done that. You won’t find these tips and advice anywhere else, only from this experienced nurse. Working as a new grad is hard. Working as a New Grad in the ICU is even harder.
The Best Advice From An Experienced Nurse
From the super practical to the more emotional, as an experienced nurse, I know there are things that will help you enjoy your job. These are things I’ve learned firsthand on the job that has helped me, and I bet they will help you too.
#1 Don’t Take Assertive People Personally
There are a lot of type-A personalities in the ICU. This is because a lot of the duties in the ICU require confidence, attention to detail, and a love of patterns and checklists. Nurses with these traits might be seen as rude or unkind to newbies.
But don’t take it personally. I know, that’s easier said than done. When you miss a step in a checklist the nurses around you might remind you in a very short manner. But you have to look beyond how they say it and understand what is going on in their head.
If your preceptor is being short with you, they might be thinking of 100 things at once and trying to concentrate. Sometimes, there just isn’t time to explain or think about how they are coming across.
And take it from me. If you are not confident and assertive, you need to learn to be. Working in the ICU requires it.
#2 Read the Room
Yes, you know how to read monitors, but I’m talking about the importance of reading the emotional climate.
If people are moving really fast and trying to get things accomplished ASAP, this isn’t the best time for you to ask a bunch of questions.
The same thing goes for emotions in the room. Take a second and look for clues. If you are picking up high stress, don’t ask “why” just do what’s asked. When things calm down you can go back and ask for more information.
#3 Don’t Mess With Someone Else’s Pumps
This next tip is super important. If another nurse sets up and is monitoring a pump, don’t make any changes to it. Every nurse has their own way of handling the pumps and if you do something to it, it could confuse them and cause them time away from the patient to fix it.
However, if you are asked, go ahead and change the titrate drips. But never pause pumps unless you are told to. And don’t “add volume” without going to tell the nurse right away. I understand that it’s ok to do this in Med Surge but it’s not acceptable in ICU.