ER or ICU nurse...Which one is more marketable?

  1. Hi PLEASE HEAP

    I'm considering becoming a travel nurse. I have 6 months of experience working in the ER and 1 yr of experience working in the ICU units. I know that travel nurses are not accepted to work unless they have 1 yr in.

    I believe my heart is really into being an ER nurse opposed to traveling as a ICU nurse. But for the time being it looks like I'll have to go with the speciality that I have more time in.

    How do I go about working on getting my ER experience while traveling as an ICU nurse? I was told that some companies allow you to work per diem to build other nursing skills.

    Is it more marketable just to stay with ICU?

    Or should I just sign on with a hospital and work in the ER?

    I suppose I can get use to traveling as an ICU nurse, but I'm tired of all those llloooonnnnggg nights of just bathing and re-positioning pts every two hours. Or getting pulled to other floors every other night. In ER I won't have to be concered with getting
    pulled and I get to work with more of a variety.

    Has anyone out there ever crossed trained or was hired out with more than one specialty?


    Thank you




    Thank you for your help.
    Last edit by positivethinker on May 2, '03
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   nimbex
    we have an agency nurse that works labor and delivery, and cardiac surgery, now cross training to our CCU.

    How's that for a variety?
  4. by   WSU-RN
    I have a fellow agency nurse who is a ER & ICU nurse. Although she likes ER a bit better than the ICU, she consistantly gets booked for more Critical Care shifts than ER.

    I don't know about the area that you live in, but in Seattle our agency is always calling her to pivck up Critical Care.
  5. by   suzanne4
    You can still get floated when you work ER.

    And as a travel nurse, more than likely you will float. The agency can require oneyear of experience, but most of the better facilities are now requiring at least two years of experience.
  6. by   RN34TX
    Quote from suzanne4
    You can still get floated when you work ER.

    And as a travel nurse, more than likely you will float. The agency can require oneyear of experience, but most of the better facilities are now requiring at least two years of experience.
    You can get floated, but contracts are negotiable.
    You can look at it two ways.
    ICU is a very large bulk of travel jobs compared to ER. I'd say that if you want your biggest choice of assignments, go with ICU.
    ICU however, opens you up to float to any of the ICU's in a hospital. It's easier for an ER nurse to be able to stay in the ER only, and not float anywhere, but it must be in writing.
    My hospital's ER nurses never, ever float. They will be sent home (their choice, of course) with a low census before being asked to float elsewhere.
  7. by   CraigBSN02
    ICU, without a doubt. Working ICU means you "could" do recovery, Telemetry, or Progressive Care/StepDown.

    Most places feel that ER nurses are one trick ponies. We're good enough to stabilize the patient, but we couldn't handle the complexities of ICU care.

    If you have had both, that makes you most marketable. Here in FLA, ER is currently the big need, but they tend to run together: sick people in ED mean sick people in ICU... can't have one without the other.
  8. by   austin heart
    Quote from CraigBSN02
    ICU, without a doubt. Working ICU means you "could" do recovery, Telemetry, or Progressive Care/StepDown.

    Most places feel that ER nurses are one trick ponies. We're good enough to stabilize the patient, but we couldn't handle the complexities of ICU care.

    If you have had both, that makes you most marketable. Here in FLA, ER is currently the big need, but they tend to run together: sick people in ED mean sick people in ICU... can't have one without the other.
    I agree with all of above. I started out in ICU/CCU then moved to ER. I like both, but CCU is my passion. But I would say that it is much easier for an ICU nurse to cross train to ER than it is for an ER nurse to cross train to ICU/CCU. Two totally different types of nursing both in mind set and skill set. I did a stent in a hospital float pool, it was great experiance. I think now I could be thrown into any nursing area (except L&D) and I could pull my own weight.

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