I was reading through a thread called "The Hard Truth" and it seems that the overall view is for nurses not to go into the ICU straight out of nursing school and I was wondering why. I'm one of those people who went straight to ICU because I loved what I saw while I was in nursing school. When we'd go to the ICU for clinical it seemed like the vast majority of the nurses actually knew their pts, the treatment they were getting, why, and so on. Pretty much all of the ICU nurses I encountered during school were really good teammates to each other, (hey man I hung you a new bag of fluid, yeah I can help you turn your pt), and they seemed to like their job a whole lot more than the floor nurses. It seemed like the floor nurses where always mad about something, didn't have time to show us anything, or where the one's you hear saying, "Hey man your pump in 55 is going off." Like I said in the beginning this was my experience.

So when I got out of school, I went straight to the ICU and pretty much got treated like crap. I was the new young guy, fresh out of school, probably just using us as a stepping stone to go to CRNA school, why do they keep hiring these new grads, etc... Most of the older nurses didn't talk to me much, but I just focused on taking care of my patients to the best of my ability. What I didn't know I looked up, what I couldn't find I asked the charge nurse or intensivist (we're lucky to have one in the unit 24/7, 365). I always attempted to start my own IV's or draw my blood before calling someone else and I'd show them where I tried (pisses me off when some of these newer nurses look for somebody to do their sticks without even looking 1st.) After a while the "bullies" would quiz me and I'd tell them what I knew and I'd definitely tell them I don't know if I didn't. After about 6 or 7 months I started getting more difficult pts; sick septic, IABPs, and towards the end of my 1st year fresh post op CABGs. I'm now one of the most respected nurses on the unit, people usually come to me with questions or needing help with sticks. I've been asked to join the Rapid Response Team, which I declined. Now I'll be the 1st to tell you that I'm not the Grand Wizard of nursing, but I think it's all in the individual if you will make it in the ICU straight out of school.

In the past year, we've hired around 8 or 9 new grads. 5 or 6 have quit, 1 guy seriously scares the shit out of everybody, we've told mgt that he is a risk, but they just see warm body. We also have 2 really good new nurses that are really impressive. Like I said this is my experience at the hospital I work for and not meant to ruffle any feathers, but I think people who are considering going into the ICU out of school should really evaluate themselves and how they deal with pressure, how dedicated they are to learning, and how thick their skin is.