July 23, 2011


So I've begun my general orientation for my new job in the critical care unit. I realize that I have alot to learn. Yes, I've been a nurse for several years, and while I have plenty of trach and vent experience, none of it is in acute care. Home health is a completely different ball game from the hospital and I'm worried about my lack of nursing skills. I've never started an IV. I've never even had to do CPR (though I'm quite proficient at changing plugged trachs and bagging with O2 when necessary). I've had minimal opportunity to work with IV meds during my clinical rotations in nursing school. I've completely forgotten all about how to interpret EKG strips. I barely remember the common treatments for various disease processes that are more common in adults. I can't even  remember the indications, action, and side effects of alot of the medications commonly used by older adults because I've been in pediatrics for so long.

Luckily the unit I'm on is going to consider me a "new graduate" even though I have many years of experience under my belt. This means that I will get to work very closely with the nurse educator and a preceptor for a full 6 to 8 months. The drawback is that I'm not fresh out of school like the other new grad that started the same time as me. I'm hoping that I didn't forget as much as I think I did, and that as we review the material, it comes back to me fairly easily.

So far today is my second day working with the nurse educator. I really like her. She seems to love what she does, and she is very honest and direct. Her expectations are clear and seem very reasonable. She wants us to succeed and has told us that she will not set us up for failure. It seems that I will get the support and education I need to become a good critical care nurse. The fact that this hospital gives such a lengthy orientation makes me feel good that I can succeed at this.