New Grad. Should I work in CCU? - page 2

I am new to this web site....I am searching for answers. I will be graduating in Dec 2005 and am entertaining job offers but unsure how to pick them. One nurse told me to be careful where my first... Read More

  1. by   cardiacrehab
    I'm not a big supporter of new grads in the critical care area. Personally I think getting 2-3 years of good solid medical surgical experience will provide you with the skills and experience to work wherever you wish. Skills in recognizing subtle changes in condition and reacting quickly don't develop over night regardless of the orientation programs that may be in place. Good luck
  2. by   oldiebutgoodie
    Quote from cardiacrehab
    I'm not a big supporter of new grads in the critical care area. Personally I think getting 2-3 years of good solid medical surgical experience will provide you with the skills and experience to work wherever you wish. Skills in recognizing subtle changes in condition and reacting quickly don't develop over night regardless of the orientation programs that may be in place. Good luck
    Ironically, no matter what side of the debate one is on, it seems that it is easier to get an ICU job as a new grad than as an experienced med-surg nurse. This is just my opinion from personal experience and hearsay.

    What do you other nurses think? Is it fairly easy for a med-surg nurse to move to the ICU?

    Respectfully,

    Oldiebutgoodie
  3. by   papawjohn
    Hey Oldiebutgoodie!!

    (I love your handle!! Feel like a 'golden oldie' myself.)

    Good point about transition problems from Med-Surg to Critical Care. Hadn't thought much about it until you brought it up. My 2cents worth--it's probably LOTS easier to move from MedSurg to ICU within the same hospital than it is to leave one hospital as a MedSurg Nurse and get hired at a separate hospital in the 'Units'. I moved into CCU from Tele by volunteering to work overtime in the Units and to be the 'first to float' to the units. So when I applied for the transfer, the Unit folks already knew and trusted me.

    Probably we should have been pointing this out to the newbies who seem to never quit asking this question that they might consider the quality of the ICUs in a hospital BEFORE taking a MedSurg job there--if they think their 'real' goal is becoming a Critical Care nurse.

    Again: Good point

    Papaw John
  4. by   cardiacrehab
    Nursing shortages being what they are I suppose hiring trends will be driven by who is applying and what the needs are. I had 6 years of acute surgical experience before accepting a job in CCU. These days the shortages of qualified, experienced nurses contribute to the hiring practice of new grads in specialized services. I am in Canada and we do not have the best oriention programs in place. As well it is more like on the job training, I think this is very stressful and may in fact result in difficulty with retention of staff when the priority is to fill spots and not consider the suitability of the nurse given the position and the support available.
  5. by   mels123
    I graduated a long time ago but that is where I started - I have been working since 1972 and I still appreciate and remember the foundation I got in the ICU - I have gone from the ICU to the ED in a Level One Trauma Center - but I couldn't have done it without those first yrs.
  6. by   LuvMyGamecocks
    ADN student here....I'm still a little ways out from finishing the ADN program (getting SO anxious), and I'm curious about something. How does one become a Monitor/Tele Tech? I can't seem to find much information. Do you think taking classes, if nothing else, can provide a helpful background?

    It was also stated that having SOME kind of background in acute cases is helpful....what kind of experience do you think an interviewer would be impressed with? The experience that forces you to quickly think critically or directly related to the unit/specialty you're applying to? Both?

    Thanks for your input!!
  7. by   zambezi
    Quote from oldiebutgoodie
    Ironically, no matter what side of the debate one is on, it seems that it is easier to get an ICU job as a new grad than as an experienced med-surg nurse. This is just my opinion from personal experience and hearsay.

    What do you other nurses think? Is it fairly easy for a med-surg nurse to move to the ICU?

    Respectfully,

    Oldiebutgoodie
    I think that new grads can successfully work in an ICU environment- I did and so have many other before and after me. That said- I think that it takes a certain type of personality and the right learning/bedside environment and support. There needs to be an adequate orientation system, staff nurses willing to teach and support the new grad (during and once off orientation), preferably good staffing ratios so the new grad won't be too overwhelmed with the sheer number of patients, continuing education and support, and a good mix of new grads vs. experienced staff in the unit. I think that the work enviroment is one of the most important aspects.

    Oldiebut goodie:
    My opinion as far as med-surg nurse go is that it can go either way (as it can with new grads). I think that someone with tele experience would have an easier time than a med-surg RN without tele. Truthfully, my unit has had better experiences with hiring new grads than med-surg nurses (even if they are from the same hospital). Most of the med-sug nurses that we seem to get have a hard time getting used to the level autonomy that we have with standing orders and protocols (this, of course, is a generalization)...We actually give our new medsurg nurses the same orientation period and classes that we give our new grads (unless of course, they have tele experience and have floated to the unit alot- then they would proabaly get the same classroom time but not quite as much orientation). I think that having med-surg experience can help with assessment skills, organization, and general other nursing skills but there is still so much to learn about the critical care enviroment that they still seem new- at least in my experience. Our unit does not seem to get many med-surg nurses that to some work there- and like I said, the ones that do don't seem to work out that well- Hopefully we will get some with a good background that come soon- we need to hire some new people that have some kind of experience! (to mix in with the new grads!). This opinion is coming from someone that had no previous medical/nursing experience prior to working in our CCU though- so it based on purely observation!
    Last edit by zambezi on Jan 17, '06
  8. by   papawjohn
    Hey LuvMyGamecocks

    The best way to get a job as a TeleMonitor is to work in a hospital that has lots of Tele beds and uses monitors--then apply for a transfer. So I'd advise one of my daughters or nieces/nephews who asked me that question, go to the biggest referral, level 1, teaching hospital in your locality and take the best job there you can. An ideal starting place would be a CNA job on a Tele Unit. Once there, ask lots of questions and let everyone know you're a Student Nurse and learn everything you can, observe everything you can.

    I LuvMyVols--damn we had a rotten year in football!!! 8-<

    Papaw John
  9. by   Raevyn
    Im a new Grad,

    I started my job in CCU/ICU Pool a month ago.

    It is true.. some nurses eat thier young.... but it all depends on whether or not you have backbone to stand up to them. I may be a new nurse... but I am also nearly 40 years old.. with other varied life experience behind me.. Business Management of 20 years to boot.

    I LOVE CCU. I work in a pool situation... I will be trained on CCU, ICU and the Telemetry floor and will float between them. Our hospital if FANTASTIC. They have a wonderful new grad program, and all the new grad training. I have 4 months of CCU classes to get through not to mention plenty of time for precepting.

    I was also told that if I felt COMFORTABLE in the units in less than a year.. it would NOT be a good thing. I enjoy working the CCU staff.. they are INCREDIBLE.. they are willing to help and answer my every question... AND I QUESTION ALOT!!! Which they say is good. They don't like new grads that come out of school and do NOT ask questions. Those who think they know it all when coming out of school.. they don't know diddly...

    I have taught some of the older nurses new tricks and they teach me all of theirs... I love it. By working in the pool I get such wonderful training and I get the benefits of indepth training that the med surg floor nurses do not get by being in the units.. as well as getting the management of a patient load by working the telemetry floor with up to 8 patients to manage as oppossed to 1-3 on the units.

    I don't think I want to be anywhere else. YES.. I have tons to learn. But you know what.. I have a mouth, that works... and I'm not afraid to ask. And if I find that I just can't get it.. I honestly had given it my best shot.. and I couldn't get it... at least I had the experience and the training.. and I can move into something else that fits. But right now.. Im still trying out my wings, and I have lots of older seasoned Angel nurses who are flying right beside me.. making sure I do not fail.

    HUGS
    RAE
  10. by   nursing 101
    If there is a good preceptorship in place then I say go for it. I just spent 3-6 months on a floor and being eaten alive by some nurses. Thank God my nurse mgr and preceptor were very nice and patient with me. My point is wherever you go you are going to be eaten up by seasoned nurses so might as well be in the area where you want to be. Nursing is to hard these days to be stuck on a floor doing a job that you do not like or that you constantly are counting the days and years in order to transfer to ICU or ER.
    At first I was skeptical and had the whole gotta get at least 2 years in med-surge first thing but I'm getting stronger as the days go by. I am seeing the same cases every day as well as learning. Managing and time skills will come with every position you get. You don't need 2 years for that.
    So I decided to accept a position in ICU even though I've only been on the floor for 6 months. Although I have not started yet I already feel better inside as I was beginning to cringe every time I had to go back to work on the floor. I am not saying that ICU will be easy or that I won't find seasoned nurses to eat me up. But there will at least be one facet of my job that I will appreciate.
  11. by   mandana
    Quote from oldiebutgoodie
    Ironically, no matter what side of the debate one is on, it seems that it is easier to get an ICU job as a new grad than as an experienced med-surg nurse.
    This is what's bothersome to me. I definitely, 100% want to work CCU/CVRU/ICU - there is not a doubt in my mind that is where I want to be. I graduate in August. But I completely see the value of a strong med/surg background first. I have no experience. I'm smart and I'm doing great in school, but I don't know a fraction of what an experienced RN knows. My instincts are fairly good, but am I going to recognize a subtle change in condition as quickly as an RN with 3/5/10/15 years of experience? Not likely.

    But from what I've seen, if you accept that med/surg position to start, you're stuck there. At a clinical facility we were in recently, I met three really great, smart nurses who were desperate to transfer into ICU at the same facility - the facility hired outside to fill the position.

    So what do I do?!? I'll take the ICU position to start if I'm offered it.

    Amanda

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