Question about ICU experience.

  1. Hi
    This is my first time posting something and I would like to let everyone know that I really enjoy this site and I love reading all your comments. It is motivating. Good luck to everyone.

    Here is my question. I am almost finished with my BSN. I am debating on if I should take a job in ICU at a smaller local hospital close to my home for my experience or drive to a larger hospital for example OSU Medical Center and work in ICU for my experience. I was thinking of maybe working in SICU at OSU.
    Do you think working at a large, level one hospital would make much of a difference in getting into nurse anesthesia school? I guess I am asking do you think the 1 and 1/2 hour drive to OSU would be worth it?
    The closest level one trauma centers to me are in Columbus Ohio and Charleston WV (CAMC) both are about a 1 1/2 - 2 hour drive.
    I hope I made since.

    Thanks
    •  
  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   lgcv
    It depends on how small the local ICU is. If it is a really small unit, with only limited numbers of patients with swans/vents/ and all the things that go with those, then it will not provide you with the experience you need.
    If they have a high acuity population on a regular basis then it will be fine.
    Hope that helps.
  4. by   smogmatt
    I had that same ?? about a year ago when I was finishing up my RN. I actully emailed all the schools I was interested in and asked what they like to see in an app. I told them i was considering a large level 1 hospital a small rural hospital and a midsize (level 2) hospital. most everyone said if you can get the experance (ie swans vents vasoactive drips etc.) it didn't matter.

    I eventually settled on the midsize ICU we have Neuro, Cardio, Med and Surg. I really like it be cause I get to see a little of everything.

    hope that helps

    Matt
  5. by   alansmith52
    I used to work a small 50 beder. the ICU had swans on occasion but mostly the nurses with the most experince took them. they had a lot of rule out MI's. there was a guy who applied three years in a row. and was told our ICU was too small. thats what motivted me to come here.
    some care more than others i think .

    It seems like the answer to most of these questions is "call the school and see what they want".
    matt
  6. by   WntrMute2
    I suggest going for the bigger, more sophisticated ICU. First, you won't be worried the next year that your experience won't be good enough. Second, your experiencewillbe better. There is a huge difference between the type of patients and situations that I took care of and the types of patients most of my classmates did. They all got in obviously but I was required to operate at a higher level and therefore learned more during those ICU years. The reason the schools want ICU experience is for you to learn not just to meet admission requirements. Go for the long drive. In the end you will be thankful. Remember, once in school you'll hav a lot more inconviences than a long drive.
  7. by   kmchugh
    I have to agree with Dave. You probably will get better experiences working in the larger ICU. The smaller hospitals often put patients in ICU's that the larger level 1 trauma centers would consider moving to the floor. You will also have more exposure to sicker patients and newer technology.

    Kevin McHugh, CRNA
  8. by   Qwiigley
    With all of the competition out there, why risk not having enough experience? I drive 1.5 hours to work daily for the past 5 years. Never bothered me. I get up a little earlier, almost nver late for work, cuz I have a buffer of time. I listen to new and talk radio in the morning, to get up to date with the world, and buy/rent books on tape for the relaxing drive home (Los Angles traffic). All in all, I love my job, I love where I work, its just time to continue on toward my goal.
  9. by   lynncm
    THANKS SO MUCH!!!
    Everyone's advice has been a great help. I had been debating over this for a while until reading everyone's comments. It is a relief to finally decide without a doubt. You all have really HELPED me.

    I will go for the long drive!

    Christy
  10. by   jperry25
    Christy,

    I just graduated in May and am also interested in CRNA school. I live an hour away from a level 1 trauma center and 10 minutes away from a small rural hospital with 55 beds and a 4 bed ICU. I also debated between the closer drive and the better experience in a surgical ICU at a teaching hospital. I decided to go for the hour drive and get the better experience with vents, swans, and vasodrips. It makes for a long day but it's possible and look at it this way, you only have to drive there 3 days a week if you work twelve hour shifts. I don't think you'll regret the long drive to get a great experience.

    Goodluck and be careful on the road,
    Jan
  11. by   DIVER CRNA
    I agree with choice of a larger level one trauma center for your ICU exposure, it truly will be more comprehensive. Most importantly, I believe you should consider the training (preceptorship, critical care course, ACLS, PALS) they will provide supplemental to your actual experiences. Some hospitals only provide 8 weeks while others provide up to six months of preceptorship, which is invaluable! ICU's are hurting for warm bodies and often you will find them selling the position rather than recruiting quality personel. I say this because you truly don't want to work in an ICU with 5 new grads and only 3 veteran personal to train them. Do your research. With your experience you surely won't be turned down from an ICU offering, but you may find yourself being the wise and selective candidate. Goodluck to you---Jeff
  12. by   Roland
    are these something you could take while you are an undergraduate working on your BSN (perhaps during the Summer)? Do you think it would make sense for a student desiring this experience to write to various local hospitals seeking information on these courses.

    Thanks.
  13. by   braden74
    you can take ACLS and PALS before you graduate but you don't really need to. but ACLS is helpful even in school, at least that is what i found. i took ACLS the summer before my senior year in nursing school and i loved the class.

    in my limited experience you don't need it to get an ICU job. once you are hired your employer will usually send you to various classes and ACLS is one of those classes. i would check with hospitals in your area to see what the offer new grads in the ICU.

    i personally moved from WA state to AZ because of the program my hospital offers. it is a 6 month preceptorship with a 4 week critical care class at a local community college. plus we have classes at work. i have a preceptor and also a mentor. i work at a level one hospital and we have over 50 ICU beds.

    i did my research on the web and then spoke with nurse recruiters at various hospitals. there are a lot of good programs out there and a lot that leave much to be desired.

    do your homework and good luck.
  14. by   AmiK25
    Roland,

    I am also a BSN student who is interested in becoming a CRNA. After my first semester of clinicals, I got a job as a student nurse extern in the Adult Critical Care Unit at a large teaching hospital in Indianapolis. While it may not be a necessary step in becoming a CRNA, it has been wonderful. I have three semesters of my BSN program left, and I have already become comfortable working with vents, vasoactive drips, CVP's, and PA lines. I pretty much get to assume total care for extremely critical patients, but always have an RN preceptor to help me, check my assessments, etc....I plan to work in this same unit after graduation, and then apply to CRNA programs ASAP. I think this experience as a student will be very helpful in the transition from nursing student to RN and may also help me get into a CRNA program with only 10 months actual experience as an RN. Anyway, just wanted to let you know there are great opportunities out there to get a head start on ICU experience before you graduate. Aren't you in Indiana, too? Are you in Indy or elsewhere?

    Ami

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