Living the dream

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So the past few weeks have been rather nerve wracking for me… For those who know, I started my Neuro/trauma ICU job, and was kind of freaked out about it inside. I knew from the bottom of my heart that ICU would be the perfect fit for me, because I enjoy continuous learning, knowing my patients in and out..and it also gives me a sense of purpose when I think about what kind of patients I am taking care of, and how my care affects their lives.

Disclaimer: this post is all about nursing and may not appeal to some of you, I just think it will be a cool thing for me to look back on someday.

In school, my favorite courses were cardio stuff, I know the heart in and out, and even took an ACLS course 2 years ago (I didn’t need it for my job at that time LOL!) just to prepare for my cardio ICU job in the future (I know I sound crazy), but Lo! and behold, I ended up getting into neuro-trauma ICU. Neurology has always been interesting to me, but it was one of those things at the back banner, just because I never thought I would go into that direction. So the major internal freaking out thing is because I got this neuro-trauma ICU job….and I felt like I didn’t know enough about neurology!!…like what the heck, I think they made a mistake? lol (of course this is not true, I had an extensive interview)

So here is what I learned this week after my first shift on the unit:

  1. People on the unit don’t expect me to know SH!T (sorry)..and that is such a relief.. they basically treated me like….it’s your first day, ask all the stupid questions you can come up with…..and I did ask away about everything!!! haha..thank God my preceptor is super awesome.
  2. I need to be a sponge on my first few shifts on the unit. Fortunately, I have some nursing experience and I know that absorbing everything and writing things down to go look up later at home is crucial to learning fast on the job. Being so new to neuro-trauma ICU, there are so many abbreviations that people on the unit throw around (it is second nature to them at this point, and they forget how outsiders have no clue what they are talking about.) Even though people don’t expect you to be a neuro pro, it is nice when you understand certain abbreviations and can be helpful (on your first day) by maybe getting supplies, helping doc’s with procedures done at the bedside…etc . In preparation, I read up on common diagnosis, equipments, procedures and abbreviations used on a neuro-trauma ICU, and that helped me tremendously! I was complemented a few times by some nurses for being a big help on that shift. (I love complements at work haha, big confidence booster)
  3. Volunteer for everything if you have time. I was trying to stick to my preceptor because I was worried about knowing the “system’s routine” , but I found out there is really no “routine” really in this ICU (insert scream…how I my supposed to know what to do haha)..everyone works as a team and we all sort of take care of each others patients by helping them in one way or the other. So I ended up doing a ton of things around the unit with other nurses. This is good exposure to different things and its a fast way to learn about things.

Today I also got the chance to meet all the other newly hired RNs (all of them newer nurses), and that gave me hope….sigh! Now am positive they didn’t make a mistake by hiring me and won’t kick me out haha (this was a legit fear…like…seriously why me?, how did you decide I was even qualified for this position? ..am I even old enough yet? Lol)

All in all, I feel much calmer today. I am hopeful for the future, I just can’t wait until 6 months later where I feel less anxiety about being a neuro/trauma ICU nurse. Part of it is also dealing with emotionally vulnerable families that ask questions about every single thing. I was used to dealing with family members in my old job, but not to the point where I have to explain a whole human anatomy and physiology topic, while being questioned about every single word..because these families hang onto every little thing you say. Even on my first day when I was not even responsible for care of the patient, they would pay so much attention to what I said and just had that look of “please give me hope nurse, please” , and its frightening to know that.

I could go on forever, but I will end this post here.

I hope you’re all having a fun weekend, and thanks for checking my blog out ;

-purejackie-