Getting into critical care

  1. It's no secret that new grads are having a harder and harder time finding jobs. This is probably even more true of critical care nursing jobs. My first job is going to be in a step-down unit at a teaching hospital. I did everything in my power to make it into the CVICU, including taking some of the advice I received on this site. I didn't get in but I make a good contact with the nurse manager. The nurse manager for my stepdown unit knows that I wanted CV and understands my frustration (which I downplayed heavily). My question is how do I go about trying to transfer? Any tips, timeline suggestions? There doesn't seem to be a set policy on this, they say "we like you to stay in a unit one to two years". Don't get me wrong, I think I'll learn plenty on a step-down unit as a new grad but it definately doesn't excite me. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   JustMe
    You can stay excited by taking classes in critical care. ACLS is a start. Classes that prepare you for the CCRN exam are also out there. If the nurse manager knows you are preparing for the job she/he will keep you in mind when the job opening comes along. That way you will also be ready to take on much of the responsibilities of a critical care nurse and won't need so much "on the job" instruction.

    Good Luck!
  4. by   Jdog19s
    Yikes. I believe that a timeline should be person specific. Some people are ready to go straight into an ICU setting and do great and some people need more time on a step down unit. If you are sure you want to become a CRNA, I would not be spending more than a year in a step down unit. Schools say you need atleast a year of critical care, but that is not the average. I belive out of the 25 people starting in my program, only 1 or 2 had only a year when they applied. So if you wait 2 years in step down, move onto ICU, and go 2 more years at a minimum and then hope you have the stats to get right into a program.. it is just a much longer road than you could be taking. Is there no other good hospital with an ICU that you could get into in your area? I'm sure lots of people on here will tell you that 3 to 5 years of experience is what you need to really handle becoming a CRNA, but if you are motivated and work overtime and study ICU texts while you are working in an ICU you can be ready in a year or two. I put in 8 months on a tele unit while waiting to get into ccu/csu. 2 years at ccu/csu and i'm on my way to school. To sum it up, move on as soon as you are ready and do everything you can to be ready sooner.