Anyone disliked ICU?

  1. I have just been offered a position in a medical ICU. I have worked for 3 years on a tele unit. For those of you who have worked in ICUs after working med-surg/tele: did you like it?

    why I am hesitant: I will be giving up a day shift position with a set schedule for a night shift position with unpredictable schedule. 3 nights 7pm-7am but it could be any day of the week.

    I feel it is time to make a move after working 3 years on my current position. So when I was approached about this position I thought it would be no harm in interviewing. But now that they have officially offered me the position I can't avoid the thought "what if I hate working in an ICU and gave up my good day shift schedule ..."

    please tell me your experiences if you have worked in ICUs. Thank you!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   LovingLife123
    I love icu. But realize it's much different than medsurg. As long as you are prepared for the transition, you should be fine. It's going to be kind of like being a new grad all over again. It's not that it's necessarily any harder, it's just different.

    I see when we get floor nurses that want to transition to the icu, many don't understand the difference and end up failing. Perfectly great nurses failing because they aren't prepared for the transition. It can be very intense and mentally draining.

    Good luck. Nights are a good place to start. It will help ease you in. I did nights for a long time before getting to transition to days and it helped immensely.
  4. by   smf0903
    I just started orientation in ICU after 2 years on a tele med-surg unit. It truly IS like being a new grad again. I work and on my days off I scour through books and papers looking things up and taking notes. I am orienting on days just because I figured I'd get to see more procedures and such (I'll switch over to nights at some point and finish my orientation on nights since I'll be on night shift). I. Love. It! It's challenging and there are days I leave feeling like my brain is about to explode from all the information I do have to say though, that I will be sad to leave day shift. I didn't realize how crummy I felt working nights until I started working days.

    I didn't think I'd leave the tele spot I had. I did love it and the people I worked with. But I do love this new challenge

    Good luck with your decision!
  5. by   Castiela
    Im another icu lover; I love the critical thinking, generally understanding why my assessment data is the way it is, more time with the family etc. However, I hate night shifts, I simply can't do more that 3 in a row without turning into a zombie for my entire set off, so your new schedule would give me pause. I hate a halftime transitioning from a non tele med surg unit. It felt like I knew nothing. The standards in icu are much higher than I had experienced previously and I had a hard time fitting in. I'm a year in now and still ask what feel like dumb questions but am slowly getting the hang of things. Another positive of icu is you work very closely with the docs and other health care team, our docs are amazing and make your observations and suggestions feel valued. You will always be learning, and I also review my material on days off just to stay current. Best of luck making your decision!
  6. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    I can't answer for whether or not this would be the right move for you.

    I do know that it wasn't the right move for me.

    I went to the ICU after seven years of MedSurg and my struggles weren't with the critical thinking or patho involved or any of that - it was more the culture of the unit, the "no, in the ICU we do *this*" but without an explanation other than "that's what we do" mixed with "we're all best of friends and you don't quite fit in with us." (At 28 I should have had a thicker skin but I didn't.)

    I found that a lot of the ICU nurses had always been ICU nurses and weren't any more critical thinkers than was I; rather, the ICU is what they knew. However, a few coworkers from my same floor went to the same ICU and thrived and never looked back. It depends on the floor you were on, the ICU you're going to, and you.

    I'd hate for you to regret not trying it if you want to - you do never know when you'll get an opportunity like this again.
  7. by   purplegal
    GO FOR IT!!!

    I would take an ICU position in a heartbeat, although I probably will never get one. You have no idea how lucky you are.

    Take advantage of becoming one of the best nurses out there.
  8. by   cardiacfreak
    Quote from purplegal
    GO FOR IT!!!

    I would take an ICU position in a heartbeat, although I probably will never get one. You have no idea how lucky you are.

    Take advantage of becoming one of the best nurses out there.
    Not all ICU nurses are great. ICU nurses think differently than a nurse who specializes in med/surg, oncology, long-term care, hospice, pediatrics, dialysis, etc. It doesn't make them a better nurse. I know an ICU nurse who is smarter than most people and could teach an elementary student how to interpret ABGs, but she is lazy, and likes to nurse from her seat. Just because you know, doesn't mean you actually perform.

    I wish we as nurses would stop putting one speciality above another. ICU nurses are to be commended as well as the Psych nurse who can calm a psychotic patient or talk down a patient who is on the verge of suicide, and the pediatric nurse who is trying to obtain an IV on a FTT 3month old, and the long-term care nurse who is passing 40 patients meds in 2 hours (I need those time management skills), and the school nurse who notices the bruises on a students back and intervenes on behalf of the student, and the home health nurse who travels to places unfamiliar in the middle of the night to relieve someones discomfort.

    I could go on all day, but, I won't. Hopefully the picture is clear. ALL nurses need to be commended.
  9. by   Emergent
    In my opinion, it's important to be in the specialty that fits your personality. I found ICU to be claustrophobic. ER is better for a person who likes to turn on a dime, and has an attention deficit syndrome. That's the place for me!
  10. by   ~♪♫ in my ♥~
    After leaving the ED I took a posting in the ICU float pool... all 7 adult ICUs as well as ICU boarders in PACU and the ED. While I find the ICU super fascinating intellectually, it just doesn't suit my personality to sit with one or two patients for 12 hours. I prefer variety and turnover.

    Now, given a choice between working the floor and working the ICUs, I'd choose the units every time - particularly certain ones.

    Overall, though, I just don't care for the ICU thing... too... I don't know, controlled, maybe. I learned a ton and worked with some amazingly smart and talented nurses but it just wasn't my thing.
  11. by   jobellestarr
    I've been a nurse for 35 years and have worked in just about every area but OR and I have always gone back to M/S or some variant of it. I like the knowledge of ICU but I can't stand being with one patient all day long. I have found my dream job of float pool nursing. I don't get caught up in the politics and people are happy to see me because they're short. It's always good to try other specialties and see if you like, love or hate it. Nursing is flexible and you can always move on if it doesn't suit you. Good luck!
  12. by   adventure_rn
    Quote from RNbubu
    I can't avoid the thought "what if I hate working in an ICU and gave up my good day shift schedule ..."
    So, I don't have any experience in adult ICU or tele, however...

    As others have pointed out, as with any specialty, be prepared to feel like a new grad again. Be prepared to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and incompetent at times when you start out. There will probably be days where you think to yourself, "I feel like such a moron as a new ICU nurse, why did I give up my good day shift job?" Just like a new grad, you'll get through it, push past the steep learning curve, and eventually feel like a confident, competent ICU nurse. However, you should mentally prepare yourself to have days where you second-guess your decision, and realize that's ok.

    I'm curious to know why you decided to apply? Was there something you hoped to gain from an ICU job that you don't currently have? Knowing more about what you actually enjoy (i.e. pace, acuity, control) would probably help other members give you more helpful insight about what you would or wouldn't like in the ICU setting. IMHO, there's way more to this equation than day shift vs. night shift.
  13. by   OUxPhys
    Came across plenty of bad ICU nurses in my 2 years as an RN so far.
  14. by   RNbubu
    I applied mostly because I feel stagnated in My current position. I am thinking of all the learning I will get in the ICU. and also about more doors possibly open if I have that experience in my resume.
    Thank you everyone for your input!

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