Starting out in children's intensive care

I cannot believe that I am already five weeks into my new job as a staff nurse on the paediatric intensive care unit. The time has gone so fast that it all feels like a blur. At the moment I am still supernumerary. I do not have my own patients yet as intensive care is a specialised aspect of nursing.

For the next few weeks I will work closely with a qualified staff nurse. This will give me enough time to build on my knowledge of and skills with intensive care. When I have proved to my mentor that I am competent in the basics of intensive care, I will begin to care for patients independently.

As much as I am enjoying my experience so far, sometimes I feel like I am in my first year of nursing training again. This is because intensive care is so different to any other aspect of nursing that I have experienced before and it can be overwhelming at times.

As this is my first job as a staff nurse in a hospital, I want to prove that I have the knowledge and ability to care for patients independently in the unit. When I chose to do intensive care nursing I knew that it would be challenging and I mentally prepared myself for this. However, I do not think I prepared myself enough because I can see I have so much to learn and I often feel deflated because of this. I hope that I will get to the stage where I feel competent even in the basics of the intensive care unit.

The thought of taking care of patients independently in the unit terrifies me. All I can do for now is to learn as much as I can during my supernumerary period. I will try to live in the moment and not think too much about what could happen when I begin to nurse my own patients. I hope that this will help me to gain more confidence in my abilities to care for sick children.

About the author

Lisa KirwanLisa Kirwan is a staff nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, and writes a regular column for Nursing Children and Young People
Picture credit: Crispin Rodwell