Best Experience to get into an ICU - page 2

by John SPN

2,476 Views | 15 Comments

I currently have a job offer for both a Surgical-Trauma PCU and the Emergency Department at my local hospital. I am not sure which unit an ICU Nurse Manager would view as "better" experience to have to get into an ICU. Please... Read More


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    Quote from John SPN
    I currently have a job offer for both a Surgical-Trauma PCU and the Emergency Department at my local hospital. I am not sure which unit an ICU Nurse Manager would view as "better" experience to have to get into an ICU.

    Please advise!
    John, in my opinion I would think ER would definitely give you more experience in handling critical situations. That being said the PCU unit (I assume progressive care is the same as step down?) depending on the acuity would also be a good choice. I would ask around to find out how acute. Do they take vents? Any type of drips? etc.

    It is very hard to say what a hiring manager prefers. I know that on my current unit my manager prefers no ER. She likes high acuity med surg experience the best. At my previous hospital there were a couple of units that were known as stepping stones for the ICU. Then there were others where if that was your only experience you wouldn't even be considered. I would not let my aspirations be known to my manager but perhaps you could talk to the nurse educator at this hospital and tell them that eventually you would like to make your way to the ICU and ask their opinion of which unit would give you a better chance?
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    Many CRNA programs make it very clear that ED experience is not acceptable for critical care experience. Most of those I've researched state that in their FAQs sections.

    If you are compelled to do ED, make sure the CRNA program of your choice finds it acceptable. Unfortunately, many do not. Best of luck to you!!
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    Yeah, I am not planning on applying to an anesthesia program with just having either PCU/ED experience. I am just looking to see what would be the best launching point for a career in critical care with an eventual transfer to an adult ICU.

    (P.S The ED is at a non-trauma center hospital)

    At this point, I am definitely leaning towards ED.
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    I know at my hospital they'd take stepdown nurses for ICU well before ED nurses - the ED nurses in my facility have a horrible reputation in the ICU. Also, stepdown is considered part of critical care here, so technically, the people in IMCU/CPU are considered critical care nurses and they are often crosstrained to the ICUs so they can float here if we have a need. We are also crosstrained to IMCU/CPU for the same reason. It seems like it would be a lot simpler to get moved to ICU if you have already been oriented to the ICU as a stepdown nurse, have worked in ICU a few times from being floated, and you know the nurse manager from working with her, versus trying to get into the ICU from emergency when ED personnel are not allowed to float to the ICU and the ICU managers will never have seen you before.

    You could always take either one, and then continue to apply for an ICU job and go down to PRN at your ED/PCU position when you get it. Do you just not feel ready for ICU at this point, or were you applying for these jobs because you couldn't get an interview for ICU in your area?
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    I am having trouble getting an interview for an ICU position, if I would, I would definitely work w/e shift and do whatever I had to to work there.

    I spoke with a couple of CRNAs and they unanimously said that working in the ED would be a better bet than working in a PCU. (I assumed it would be the other way around, but w/e)
  6. 0
    Working in the ED would be very helpful in getting into ICU


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