Since I work at Methodist, I am, of course, biased but I will try to give you an objective opinion. I did ICU clinicals at Wishard. They do have a good variety of patients because the nurses float back and forth between all the ICU's (MICU, SICU, CCU). They are a trauma center so you get fresh trauma patients, which is great experience. However, they do not have as many ICU beds as Methodist and I would say that their patient population is very similar to the one I see in my unit. I think their nurses are fairly autonomous in their practice and most enjoyed working there. IU Med Center has an MICU and an SICU. For anesthesia school, the SICU would offer good experience because they do a lot of liver transplants on really sick patients and deal with swans, CVVH, etc...Also, the anesthesiologists run their vents and pain management/sedation which would give you good exposure to the way anesthesia providers think. Also, the SICU director is really into education and tries to help nurses further their education any way he can. On the down side, I have been told (have not experienced first hand) by several nurses and residents that the nurses at IU are not as autonomous as nurses at Methodist, even though we are all Clarian. For example, at IU they are not allowed to pull central lines or chest tubes. Whereas at Methodist, we are trained to do so. I think it is because IU has tons of med students/residents around all the time, where we have fewer. As for Methodist, I love my job. Our unit gets the greatest variety of patients because we get trauma, sepsis, respiratory failure, ARF, ARDS, OD patients...basically everything but neuro (except for occasional overflow) and open heart. We have a pretty good relationship with most of our intensivists/respiratory docs and we are fairly autonomous in our practice. There are at least 20 nurses on our unit who have been there for 15 years or more, which is great for new grads b/c they teach you a lot. If you like neuro, NCC is a great unit to work on and is supposedly the largest neuro critical care in the country (so I've been told). Then their is CVCC, which does open hearts, transplants, etc...
Now that I have gone on and on, I will say that any of three hospitals will provide you with enough experience to get into CRNA school. It really just depends on what you like and where you can get a position. One other thing, you could always try calling unit managers instead of nurse recruiters to see if they are interested! As far as NICU experience, if given a choice I would go with adult ICU b/c all CRNA programs accept it. If your wife can't get an adult ICU position straight out of school, I still think the smartest thing to do would be to get a position in a PCU at one of the larger facilities and try to transfer after 6 months to a year. However, I can't imagine that she wouldn't get a position at one of the three large hospitals....all my friends from nursing school got positions in one of three in the units they wanted. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Quote from Roland
AmiK25, I think that is good advice and will try to implement it ASAP! My wife will have at least TWO years ICU experience by the time she applies (since she is only graduating with her ASN and will go back for the BSN). I will also have two years by the time I apply since even though I will be graduating with my BSN it will not be for a year after my wife (and we cannot move until both of us have our BSN's in hand). Of course the one of who goes to CRNA school SECOND will have approximately five years ICU experience by the time they NEXT apply. What is your feeling between Methodist, Wishard and the Medical Center? I think that the IU Medical center has the "purest" teaching environment. However, I think Wishard has the most "variety" in their ICU. On the other hand Methodist is probably the most "state of the art" (in Indiana) and has the best reputation. I see all others including Community East has distant contenders from an ICU experience perspective. Also, I am concerned that the NICU would not be considered ideal critical care experience. On the other hand working in a NICU with the goal of transferring to the ideal SICU or CTICU would make a great deal of sense given that we have two years "on the job" to work with.