Nickolas Mileos, BSN, RN, graduated from Purdue University Calumet, Hammond Campus, this past December. After starting off as a nurse extern at the Methodist Hospitals in Gary and Merrillville, IN, in December 2008, he accepted a full-time position at Methodist as a graduate nurse.
Mileos chose to pursue a nursing career after completing his first degree in health science with a focus toward pre-physician assistant.
"I really wanted to get into my master's, and from my knowledge and what I heard from others, there was more opportunity with a master's degree in nursing," he said, noting he would like to stay at the bedside once he completes his coursework.
As a new nurse in the ICU, Mileos emphasized the importance of getting to know your fellow employees outside of work.
ADVANCE: What are some ways you've gotten to know the culture of the unit and what the nurses on the unit expect from each other?
NM: I try to get to know each of the nurses individually and get to understand their perspective of what is expected on the job. Just from that alone, I receive tremendous insight on how everything is taken care of and how each nurse would handle different scenarios.
ADVANCE: Did you think you would be working full time on an ICU as new grad?
NM: I was debating between two different units: ICU and the emergency department. I had the opportunity to get the nurse extern position on the ICU, since it was one of the choices I wanted, I took the position to get better insight for actually working there to see if it's something I would like.
ADVANCE: Is there anything you didn't expect when you started working there full time?
NM: Going through school, I had one circumstance where I got to go on an ICU and it wasn't as busy as I have experienced being there more often. So, when things go bad [with a patient], just to see how everyone works together and how fast everything goes was nothing like I expected.
ADVANCE: Do you socialize with your colleagues?
NM: Methodist offers activities outside of work, and on occasion they have bowling night at Stardust Bowl here in Merrillville. I haven't had the chance to go yet due to my school and work schedule, but I try to get to know the employees I work with by asking about their families and getting to know them as individuals. Then you don't always talk about work, you have other things in common. [Having relationships outside work] brings a whole new interaction, you know [your colleagues] more, to the point where you're not afraid to go to them with questions, and it makes you work better together.
ADVANCE: What ways have you found effective to show new colleagues you are willing to be part of their team?
NM: [My co-workers] have always asked when they needed my help, whether it was with bathing a patient or with something else. But at times when I see everyone is busy, or I have a little down time, I ask if they need any help, therefore working as part of the team.
ADVANCE: What's the best way to approach colleagues with questions?
NM: Some times are better than others [to ask questions], it all depends on what's going on during the day. You need to be conscious of what's going on around you. If a nurse has two cardiac patients, they're more engaged in taking care of those patients so I might try and go to other nurses who might have a little more time to answer questions. I really wouldn't say [a busy nurse] isn't inclined to help, but just seeing what they are going through, I wouldn't want to take time out of their day.