Considering Critical Care

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    Hi, I am looking for some advice.

    I have been working dayshift on a cardiac intermediate unit for a little over 2 years now. I enjoy my job now for the most part, but I am looking for a new challenge and learning opportunities. I am happiest when I am learning, and right now I feel like I am in a rut. I have always been interested in working in the ICU, and now I have an opportunity.

    One of the biggest drawbacks of going to the ICU would be that I would have to go back to night shift, most likely for another couple years. I enjoy being on dayshift and having a normal sleep schedule, and interacting with the doctors and staff members in other departments. I am worried that as much as I want to make a move to the ICU, I may regret the decision. However, I do not want to stay on the unit that I am on forever, and eventually I will likely have to go back to night shift in order to make a change.

    Is it best for me to make the change now and suffer through night shift in order to get into ICU? Have any of you ICU nurses that started on other units ever regret making the move to ICU? Any advice or thoughts would be very appreciated. Thank you very much.
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

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    Have you ever been on nights before? I think nights are a great place to start in the ICU because the pace is slightly slower sometimes and you have a lot of autonomy because the doctors aren't around so it's a really good learning experience.

    If you are feeling stagnant in your profession, ICU will definitely shake things up and you will find yourself learning new things everyday, but just know that all jobs just become jobs eventually where you don't learn as many new things each and every day as you did initially.

    The reason I ask if you did nights before, is because if you really can't handle nights and you already know that, then you probably shouldn't go for it. Otherwise, you should be okay and you can always move to days when a position opens up. Contrary to popular belief, all of night shift isn't trying to get on to day shift.
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    Agreed. For those who can take the altered sleep cycle, nights in the ICU has a lot to offer. I wouldn't say the pace is slow, but it's not the controlled chaos that days can be which gives you a chance to absorb more rather than just putting out fires your whole shift. You have a little more time to help others with their super complex patients and learn something from them without being totally responsible for it and because of that, the night team has more of a bond with each other.

    So, nights has it's ups and it's downs, but it's not all bad.
    fiveofpeep likes this.
  6. 1
    Thank you both so much for the responses. I have worked night shift before, and I was able to tolerate it, it just wasn't as nice as being on dayshift with a normal schedule. However, I realize that it is necessary if I want to further my career and get into the ICU.

    You both provided me with that extra encouragement I needed to follow through with this. Thank you!
    fiveofpeep likes this.
  7. 0
    Welcome to the ICU
  8. 0
    Hi Calfro87!Since I moved in from UK, I have been a day shift nurse for 3 years here in the US working as an ICU nurse for an LTAC. Sure, you get to interact with the doctors and family members during the day but having transitioned to doing nights to my new workplace seemed to be the best thing in my nursing career. I guess it also has to do with the people you work with (very important), they simply are the most amazing and most helpful staff I work with. One of my colleagues said these immortal words ... "If you don't join the TEAM now, you'll join the code team later!". Night differentials was also a good motivator, we get $6/hr. It's pretty quiet during the night and we have a charge nurse, resource nurse and Intensvist on site so you feel very secure and supported all the way. I don't know how others feel but I'm very happy being a night nurse. Hope this helps
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    Thank you! I just got home from my interview, and they just called and offered me the position. I accepted, and will be starting on March 26th. It is a 6 month orientation through all the ICUs in the hospital and at the end, I choose which one I would like to work in. I think the experience will be worth it to give up my dayshift position. Unfortunately, the differential for night shift is $1...so not that great, but I'm still going to do it. Thanks again!
    fiveofpeep likes this.
  10. 0
    That sounds like an awesome orientation. Congrats!!!
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    $1 for nights, that is horrible; much less than what i used to get as a cna


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