New Job is New, Part 2 Electric Boogaloo

So many of you know I left my old podunk 12 bed "Med-Surg/ Tele" ICU for warmer climes and higher acuity. I'm in a new facility, a Level II Trauma center, with 5 ICUs and a giant ER.

Like, GIANT. Fucking huge. Cavernous and maze-like, even. I get lost all the time.

And FIVE ICUs. A Neuro/Trauma ICU, a 36 bed Medical-Surgical ICU (ICU 1 and 2), a Cardio-Thoracic ICU, and a Cardio-Vascular Interventional ICU (which are 'paired' like the two MSICUs). And I get to work in all of them-- maybe even the PICU.

I spent a month in the ER as part of my orientation to my new position as a Critical Care Float RN. I was so scared to even set foot in the ER again because of my past experience with that shithole Level 1. Come to find out, though, many of the people I work with at this new facility know EXACTLY what I was talking about when I said I would go home and cry and couldn't eat or sleep and felt a sickening sense of soul-crushing dread every time I would pull into the parking lot. They had tried it out there and ran away screaming after only a few months, too. Nurses, techs, a nurse-turned-ACNP, and even two doctors now work in our ED-- one who I remember put his hand on my shoulder after that nightmare-inducing pedi trauma and subsequent bitch-out session by my preceptor and told me "It's okay, they're like that here but you're a good nurse, you'll be ok." The only person who was nice to me that day is now at my Level II.

I learned that as a newbie I was hazed to see if I could "hack it." This meant, basically, that they fixed it so I would get the hard patients-- they would move my boarders around just to give me all the low-level traumas and ICUs. Safety be damned, let's haze the noob, or something. And they made me think that I was running around from room to room while other people were sitting and chatting because I couldn't cut it, not because they were purposely fucking with me. I learned that like 20 nurses had left in the few months leading up to me being hired. I even learned that one nurse higher up on the food chain thought I was too dumb to work in an ER!! What the fuck? What the fuck are these mind games, y'all?

Well, this sounds kind of immature but fuck it, I'm going to say it anyway. I sure as fuck showed them, didn't I? I persevered and overcame and I didn't let them break me. I did so well at this new place that they reduced my orientation period by two weeks and even offered me a full-time position on nights. Part of me wants to roll up in the Level 1 and flash my shiny new badge around and go "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck especially YOU and four people who look like you, and fuck you double, I did it, I'm capable of doing it, and I'm not stupid so the whole lot of you can go die in a fire. But don't come to my ED afterwards." But I won't. I am satisfied to feel personally and privately vindicated and validated. (Well, I'm sharing with all of you guys so I guess it isn't really that private but whatevs...)

So now I'm up in the ICUs for 8 weeks. I'm orienting to all of them at once, so one day I might be in CTICU learning about solid organ transplants and the next day be in the CVICU doing LVADs and balloon pumps and trans-venous pacing. Just recently for two days I've been in the Neuro ICU getting hands on training in EVDs, cranis, head trauma, mannitol and 3% NS.

Wanna talk about some scary shit? EVDs scare me even more than trauma ever did. My hands shook HARD the first time I laid hands on one. Wait, how many goddamn stopcocks are on this thing? Is it level to the tragus?? I don't know but I don't even want to touch it because I'm afraid I'm going to drop it and spill it and all this dude's CSF will come out and he'll herniate and die so no thanks. What?? We're going to CT? Right now, really? Um, I'm good thanks. I have to pee... yeah.. brb... Hold up, I have to touch this thing? NO I'M GOOD THANKS!

Haha, picture big badass tough as nails MoJo scared like a little girl from having to mess with an EVD, right? But I pulled up my big girl panties and did it and the patient lived so I guess it's not all bad, right? It helped to have a preceptor who put her hand on my hand and said, calmly but firmly, "Look, I have faith in your abilities. You've already proven that you have a clue and you're willing to learn, and so I'm going to teach you. You can do this and I'll be here the whole time. So, grab that level there and let's get started."

Part of me feels like a new grad, you know? I'm even getting ECCO training, which I never had, so it's pulling all the patchwork pieces of knowledge I've gotten in my 4 short years as a nurse together and tying it all up in a pretty pink bow. Being so gun-shy about asking questions and admitting that I don't know things was hard at first, but the people at this new place are so nice and accommodating-- and awesome like my old crew at Podunk General who I miss a shit ton-- they make me feel comfortable about asking questions and getting feedback. I wish I had applied for the new grad stuff here and had been patient enough to wait for the interviews rather than jump on the first job offered to me at that Shitty County Hospital. But you live and you learn, right?

This place has clinical nurse specialists and educators for each ICU and ED who actually come out of their office and give inservices on stuff that the staff might need refreshers on. The management is cool as shit because they only promote them internally, so the managers know what it's like to work at the bedside in that specific unit and they're that much more apt to be cool with us and help us through shit. That's valuable.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm happy and hopeful. I feel nurtured and encouraged and totally validated. It's awesome and I wish every place had been as fucking rad as this place. I wish this experience for every nurse out there.

Yes, every nurse. All of you reading this. Every new grad. Even those assholes at the Level 1, the snooty bitches at my old County General, and yes, even that cunt of a preceptor I had as a new grad who told me I ought to just quit now and find another career because I was never going to be a good nurse. I feel sad for her that she believed that shit was acceptable because the culture of her hospital was so poor. Looking back, she must have been so unhappy at her job that she didn't ever think or realize that she was being laterally violent, and that shit is sad.

Well, I've shed all of that off like a bad ugly dress and just look at me now, y'all.



  1. I'm just starting nursing school and even though I'm super scared of everything I have to learn in my whole career I'm so FREAKING excited and this post made me even more so. And proud of you for trying everything new despite being scared. You are motivation and if I knew any of those asshole that made your life hell I would gladly fart in their purses! Go get 'em!

  2. Wow that sounds like an awesome position - intimidating as shit but awesome I'm sure. You'll have to tell us some of the stories from your adventures, cuz I'm sure that there's going to be a lot. Good luck and have fun with it!

  3. I LOVE this post.

    I shudder to think about what their upper management is like in the shithole Level 1. Like, what they're *really* like, as people. As we all know, shit runs downhill, and that place was saturated with it, so....

    Anyway, I've been following the blog for ages now (maybe since you started it?) - can't say how nice it is to hear you finally found a good fit where you have not only the room to grow, but the nourishment, too. Good job, dood. Bravo!

  4. Its obvious u luv swearing as most RN's do. One way to let out our anger quietly and I know this is your Blog to say as u wish but please maintain just a bit of professionalism. DO NOT USE THE "C" WORD. In any context, in any writings in anyway. It is the ultimate aggressive word against women. And isn't this article about that very behavior, how to be polite and kind to each other. Thank you

  5. Yah finally you've found a place you can actually do your job. I remember when you were talking about them writing on your purse when you worked at shitty county hospital. Nurse hazing is the worst and it doesn't stop once you have experience anytime you move somewhere new your at risk. Luckily experience buys you a ticket to better opportunities.

    I got hazed so hard at my county gig that I took some months off nursing and haven't gone back yet.


  6. God this brings back bad memories of working in ICU. Those EVDs scared the shit out of me too. That was when I started to think that nurses deserve a lot more money because the stuff in ICUs is complicated and becoming more complicated. The responsibility is overwhelming at times. Everybody feels like that.