Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whatcha thinkin', Mrs. Lincoln?

I think I may not be smart enough.

I think I might not be young enough, or energetic enough, to keep up.

I think I might make a huge, irretrievable fool of myself.

I think I might just lie down and take a nap.

I think I will have to be tougher than I've been in a while.

I think my idealism could take a beating.

I think what I've learned up to now will do me no good at all.

Oh, my blessed, I am anxious. I am frightened. I am doubting myself and my good sense and my gut, which has so far never steered me wrong (when I've actually chosen to listen to it; the low point being a day that involved a big white dress and a minister that mispronounced my name): I mistrust myself.

My strengths lie in talking to people who are conscious. They're in the personal-relations side of nursing, the "caring" side.

I'm not going to be doing that much any more.

I am sore afraid. What if it's all a huge mistake? Can I go back to acute care without looking like an idiot? What if I decide this isn't right, eight weeks into the fourteen? What if they hate me? What if I can't get Swan-Ganz catheters right?

Four days until the day I start, and this is worse than beginning the first time, because I *know* what's at stake now.


woolywoman said...

Their families are awake, and they need a lot of talking to. You will have to tell them five or six times, anything, anything at all, because ICU sucks the smarts right out of family members. They will need you bad, and save up their questions for a nurse who doesn't prefer "intubated, sedated,paralyzed, orphans".

me said...

BREATHE, nurse ~ just BREATHE.

Yes it will be different; yes it will be strange and scary.

Go back, and look at all the strength in you. Look at all you did RIGHT.

That strength is still there; that rightness is still there.

You can do this, because you KNOW what is important, and you know how it is to be done.

Stop. Sit still, and breathe.

You can.

Breathe, and do.

Sunflower RN said...


Be kind to yourself. You will be OK. The thing is that with Critical care you can also work in the ER and other places that have awake people. All new jobs take time to get the hang of. I went from acute care to psych I thought they were all going to kill me, patients and staff alike. And I started thinking that I would hate it.

Turns out, I love it and I am good at it. I made the right choice, even if I didn't think so at the time. I love the people I work with, and it makes me look less wierd. But it does take time.

If it really feels wrong, then go back to acute care after you are done the orientation for this one, but my advice would be to stick it out for a bit and see how the dust settles at the end.

Hang in there, You can do it.


Pam said...

You ARE smart, Jo! And once you learn what you need to learn, you'll be able to explain it to family members and other staff, which is such a bonus. Not all smart people can do that. And those of us who need the 'splaining will be so very grateful. Knowledge quells fear -- that goes for you, for your patients' families, and for the other staff you'll be educating a year from now.

Hang in there, Jo. Transitions are hard, but they're transitory. You can do this.

pelican said...

And remember- ICU/CCU is *all* about delirium ... and you are the mistress of altered mental status! Cuz, while many of your patients are awake, they sure aren't all there. All your confused/agitated/unwilling patient & family management tricks are still totally relevant. Oh- and my word verification is "cathed!" A positive sign, surely!

Anonymous said...

You will be fine. Just talk to the patient, they may be able to hear you and your calm voice and demeanor will be there for them at a time when they need it most.
Remember, you ROCK! It will all be fine, and all that catheter jazz will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jo, I'm a new guy here--I love your writing style and stories. I have faith that you can use all of your beauty and good energy in your new unit...I know you will do wonderfully!

yr sis said...

-- What if it's all a huge mistake?

If it is, you'll be in the perfect position to do something about it. That's why they invented internships: so people can try something and say "This is good" or "whoa, huge mistake." It's what internships are *for.*

-- Can I go back to acute care without looking like an idiot?

Probably. I work with a lot of people who try being a manager, say "This sucks," and step back to being a worker bee. I don't know if anyone regards them as "dropping back." Your situation might be different, but the people who do it here are regarded enviously -- they're good enough to get hired for another position, dig? And they can ditch that other position and go back to something they like better. They have choice.

-- What if I decide this isn't right, eight weeks into the fourteen?

See above, "internships."

-- What if they hate me?

The hate of *some* people is like a badge of honor.

And of the useful people, who will be hating you? The ones who high-fived each other when they heard you were moving to their unit? The one who called you after hours to offer you the job? The ones who were yelling "Don't put her on nights too long -- she might poison someone to get a day spot"?

-- What if I can't get Swan-Ganz catheters right?

Lalalala NONONONO lalalala NONONONO you said catheter lalalala NONONONO

Suzie said...

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE!!!!! Who else can take a bunch of lumber and a half assed plan off the internet and build a way cool deck in three hours??? YOU! You can do this!! You are one of the smartest people I know. I have a world of faith in you. Not hope, faith, my dear.

Plus, you have a waaayyyy cool stethescope!!!!!

Anonymous said...

*Girly giggling* I think Chef Green up above has a crush on you! I hope he has a crush on you, anyway.

I read an interview w/ Beyonce once. She said she gets nervous sometimes before performances. And then she tells herself something like, "Hell, I'm fierce!" You're fierce, too. Once you get onstage, as it were, you'll be unstoppable.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I worry about the people who DON'T have some doubts and concerns when they take on new challenges. It's good to take things seriously!

However, I get a strong sense from what I've read, both from you and your well-informed commenters, that you'll be great.

Anonymous said...

You are an awesome woman and you can do it! If you get nervous, just think about the Pyramid Collection's latest fashions. 8-]

Penny said...

Getting in on this late, but: What everyone else said.

I have a fortune cookie fortune taped to my bathroom mirror: "If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances." Your old unit was comfy, but it was littered with utterly insane, dysfunctional people, not to mention it was not challenging you all that much. You're too smart to just sit back and be comfy. You go out and tackle the world, which is one of the things I love about you.

You will succeed BRILLIANTLY. I KNOW you will!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Karen said...

Some nurse friends and I were talking this weekend. The nurses that frighten us the most? The ones who don't have a clue about what they haven't got a clue. You know that there's some stuff you don't know yet, but you will.

You're in the blocks, at the start, you can see the lane and you've got to trust that the finish line is up ahead. You'll get there.

I'm about to start on a new career path, too and I'm not even quite sure where or what, but it's going to be different and that's scary. But I want to s t r e t c h. And I think you do also.

Good luck. I'll be sending good vibes your way. I can't wait to hear about your new adventures. I'm confident you're gonna do great.