As a new nurse, how long does it take to get an ICU job?

  1. My goal is to become an ICU nurse one day. Could anyone inform me on the steps to becoming a nurse in the ICU. Also, the amount of experience required, and some good tips/strategies. Thank you in advanced!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   FL_Nurse92
    What floor are you working on now? I have friends that went from school, straight to the ICU. I would say a year is all you need if you are on a progressive care or step down unit.
  4. by   sophBSN15
    I'm a slow poke myself, but I did med-surge for 2 years, then Neuro PCU for one year before I was hired for Neuro-Trauma ICU. If you can look around for internships, I was lucky enough to get hired and received exactly 6 months of training 3 months on days and eventually 3 months on my nightshift.
  5. by   Socal_EMT
    I just got into nursing school; but I always want to try and plan ahead if possible. I do have 4 years experience as an EMT, three of those years in an outpatient cardiovascular rehab center.
  6. by   Guy in Babyland
    Depends on what you are willing to do to get the ICU job. Living in California may take much longer to get an ICU job than other locations in the US. If you are willing to relocate for a few years to get the ICU experience, you would then have an easier time getting an ICU job in California. Also, if you are willing to relocate, there are New Grad residencies that take new grads and put them through extensive training (classroom and preceptorship) before releasing them on their own in the ICU.
  7. by   offlabel
    I graduated in May started in the ICU in June.
  8. by   Aromatic
    Just do good in clinical and get a preceptorship in clinical stuff in icu. Don't mention anesthesia to anybody anywhere until your asking for recommendation letters after a year of experience. If that's your goal. Hospitals are good for sniffing out crna to bes and not letting them in icu due to turnover reasons.
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from Socal_EMT
    My goal is to become an ICU nurse one day. Could anyone inform me on the steps to becoming a nurse in the ICU. Also, the amount of experience required, and some good tips/strategies. Thank you in advanced!
    If your goal is to be an ICU nurse to take care of ICU patients, you may be able to get hired directly into ICU. It depends on the job market in your area. If the market is saturated, are you willing to relocate?
    Alternatively, look for a step-down position and transfer once you've become competent.
  10. by   Socal_EMT
    I wouldn't mind a long drive. But unfortunately my girlfriend (future wife) is a high school teacher, and that means giving up her tenure in order to follow me to another state.
  11. by   ICUman
    Get a job as an ICU tech while in nursing school. Prove your good work ethic, dependability, and critical thinking skills. That will be your gold ticket to a new grad position in the ICU. It's exactly what I did. Plus, you'll have a big advantage being familiar with unit protocols, drips used, procedures done, job shadowing ICU nurses, etc.
  12. by   calivianya
    We just hired 12 new grads in my ICU. No experience necessary... but my god, hiring somebody with experience would be nice for a change.

    Best strategy: apply, apply, apply... apply to all of the ICU jobs you can find and keep applying. All I applied to during nursing school was ICU jobs, and I had one secured about three weeks before I graduated, contingent on graduating and passing NCLEX. It happened to be 400 miles away from where I was attending school, and I probably could have stuck it out and found a job closer to me, but I preferred having the security of going to work immediately over waiting for a chance close by.

    You might have a disadvantage with your current location. I see it would be difficult for you to relocate, so you should probably apply to non-ICU jobs, too.
  13. by   ivyleaf
    is there a shortage in nc?
  14. by   calivianya
    Ivyleaf - short answer is yes. Definitely plenty of openings in NC!

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