Advice re:certifications/training for a student leaning towards critical care?

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    I'm a "senior" of sorts in an ABSN program (96 days and a wakeup left so we're over 3/4 done...) and from my EMS experience prior to nursing school/exposure to various specialties during clinicals, I'm leaning pretty strongly towards acute or critical care if I can find a job there after graduation. To that end, I've done ACLS and PALS (on my own, as opposed to waiting for my school/employer to run a class) but beyond those courses, I'm not sure what else I could look for in order to use my weekends productively and enhance my knowledge level. Since treating little kids made me nervous in our Peds/Maternal-Newborn rotations I thought about finding a NRP class but since I doubt I'd wind up in the NICU, doing NRP seems as it may be little more than resume "fluff". Should I wind up working in the Emergency Department/combined ICU I suppose there's a chance I'd have to care for a critical neonate and the knowledge from NRP may then come in handy, but that seems to be a unlikely circumstance. So, are there any courses/certifications I should pursue to (1) make the most of my "off" time in the remaining 3 months and change of school, (2) improve my acute/critical care knowledge level, and (distantly, on the importance scale) (3) enhance a new grad resume?
    Last edit by jvencius on Jun 25, '12
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    I would think working as an EMT would be enough experience to make you valuable to ER/ICU. Where I work, new grads are more marketable to our ICU if they've worked there as students or did their Preceptorship Clinical in an ICU. ACLS/PALS is great, but I don't think there's any additional certifications that will help. Kudos to you for wanting to make yourself more marketable. If you get hired to ICU, you might work towards your CCRN certification after a year of working. Mentioning that in an interview might certainly be a good thing. In the meantime, you could also read critical care journal articles. I bought a book called Critical Care Nursing Secrets before starting ICU as a PCU nurse. I must admit though, some of it was challenging to understand until I actually got there and got hands-on experience with the stuff they were talking about in the book. Best wishes.


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