Advice about getting into critical care

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    Okay, I'm sure there are a lot of posts asking a very similar question, but my situation is just a tad bit different and I'd appreciate any opinions.

    I'm a "new grad" nurse and I really want to get into critical care. I mean, really. For some completely crazy reason, my nursing school only rotated us to ICU for 2 days right before we graduated. It was amazing-- way more intense than anything I'd seen before and exactly what I'd had in mind when I went into nursing. I'd previously thought about ICU, but since it's so competitive to start there, I figured I probably didn't have a shot. But it really is the hot spot of nursing to me, so I might as well give it a whole-hearted try, right?

    So, here are the things "working against me."

    I graduated in December and I am only now starting to apply for jobs, because I've been out of the country for my husband's work. This had always been the plan and dictated my choice in nursing schools because of graduation date. It's nearly done and I can't wait to get home and get on the floor.

    I'm pregnant. Yup, 3 months in. I'll be 5 months when I get home and hopefully interview. I understand this may not make me an ideal candidate.

    But like I said, I really want this. I would just die to be able to nurse on a critical care floor, or even step down or ER. I want action and experience!!

    So, I know these things aren't in my favor but I really do want it badly-- do any of you have any advice about this? What I should be doing in this last 1.5 months that I'm out of the country, to increase my odds at getting a position when I get home?

    Do you think it's better to just get a job in med-surg, get experience and then get a critical care position when I'm not prego?
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  4. 1
    It is doubtful that you would get hired into an ICU as a new grad who had waited over 6 months to start working ... and 5 months pregnant. ICU orientations (particularly for new grads) cost the employer lots of money and a good (smart) employer will only invest that money in people they see as "staying put" for a while and working in that unit for a long time to justify the cost of the training. But I will never say "never" because crazy things do sometimes happen.

    I think your best bet is to develop realistic expectations and make a plan to get and ICU job as your 2nd or 3rd job -- not as your 1st. You'll probably need to refresh your nursing skills from school as well as make that critical transition from student to working professional nurse as you orient to your 1st nursing job. You'll also need to establish a track record of sticking with a job long enough to be worth the training investment. Focus on getting a good job in an acute care area (general med/surg, step-down unit, telemetry, etc.) that will give you a good orientation so that you can develop your skills and prove your worth. Then, after a year or two, start looking into ICU options.

    It's worth a shot applying for ICU internships if you can make the committment to stay there for a while ... but don't hold your breath.

    Good luck to you.
    BA_anthropology likes this.
  5. 0
    You'll find a lot of good information at aacn.org the requirements to become eligible for the CCRN exam are:
    Current unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN in the U.S. is required. Practice as a registered nurse is required for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care of acutely and/or critically ill patients during the 2-year period prior to application, with 875 of those hours accrued in the most recent 12 months preceding application.

    Hope this helps.
    Remember to never give up on your dream.


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