How do I become a critical care nurse? - page 2

by mark1973 104,668 Views | 52 Comments

I would appreciate feedback from anybody working in critical care. My questions are: -What does a critical care nurse do? -Can you get a job working as a critical care nurse right out of nursing school? -If you... Read More


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    yah i've going over the Vonfrolio CCRN review cds. Just trying to get some familiarity with what i will be seeing
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    Quote from thrumylense
    What do you mean..."Not true - many many hospitals hire new grad nurses"...... That comment makes no sense.I have worked in Arizona, California, and Washington state....no hospitals there will hire new grads. straight into ICU.
    My comment makes perfect sense, I am not sure why you do not understand. The poster before me (you) stated that hospitals do not hire new grads into ICU. I responded that this is not true, and that many hospitals hire new grad nurses. Which part did you not comprehend?
    jimii and newmail445 like this.
  3. 0
    Sorry, I read it for face value....."Not true - many many hospitals hire new grad nurses"......versus many many hospitals hire new grads. straight into ICU.....

    In response to this, there maybe hospitals that do this but they are not the norm nation wide.
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    When I read your comment, it was at the top of my page...I did not see who/what preceded it...my mistake. :0)
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    My neuro/trauma ICU just hired 2 new grads and one lady who's been at it for 20 years (we used to work together in dialysis!). They're being given 12 weeks orientation and turned loose.

    Can you go shadow various nurses in different ICU's?

    Take your ACLS, PALS, TNCC...get the Dennison "Pass CCRN" book...Rhoades and Bell's "Medical Physiology"...read them all.

    You may not be hired in critical care right away...IMHO, most new grads don't belong in critical care, but some are more mature and do just fine. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a year of floor or stepdown unit work before you get in there. It's all a learning experience.

    Good luck.
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    i just passed nclex recently and thanks for all your advice. i was wondering, what would the interview be like with an ICU nurse manager?
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    -Can you get a job working as a critical care nurse right out of nursing school?

    Yes you can. Depends on how smart you are, your determination, how well you interview (presentation, professional appearance) and where you apply. Your college reputation is also a deciding factor. Do your research. Find a hospital that offers a good program for new grads and non icu nurses

    -If you can't become a critical care nursing right out of school, how do you go about getting into critical care?

    Most people enter critical care after a year on med surg, ER or stepdown units.

    -What does a critical care nurse do?
    -If you are a critical care nurse, how do you like your job?

    I love my job. I came right out of school and was hired in the CVICU before I passed the NCLEX. It's been 6 months now and I still there in the same position I've started. I had orientation for 13 weeks and was set out on my own. The type of patients I get: valve repairs and replacement, heart transplant, lung transplant/resections, aneurysm repairs, and some abdominal surgeries. Of course I have gotten re-admits from home, outside facilites or SDU. Also transfers from outside facilities.

    IV drugs that I titrate or monitor: Epi, Levo, Heparin, Vaso, Milrinone, Amio, Propofol, Precedex, Fentanyl, RHI, Lidocaine, Cardizen, and Nitroprisside. The most I have had on one pt was 8 drips at a time. Had tubing changes that night...uggghhh.

    My typical patients come from surgery with: foley caths, 1-6 chest tubes, 1 or more artlines and peripheral lines. spinal drains, PCA's, intubated (mechanical ventilation), Swan Ganz cath (or either a MAC or hands off catheter).

    A typical day...I receive pt from surgery, prep them for transfer to a SDU or maintain them in the ICU. I pull chest tubes, Swan's, central lines, monitor hemodynamic and respiratory status. I coordinate care with practitioners, wound care teams, nutritionist and doctors. I assist with weaning to extubate procedures. I act as the patient advocate in every sense.



    Just telling you all this because it's not impossible. You can do it right out of school with the right training. The larger the TEACHING hospital the better. A lot of older nurses are resistant to the idea of new grads in the ICU but I really think it depends on your education, knowledge and thirst for learning. I still have a lot to learn. I ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS from other nurses, doctors and practitioners. Soon I will be taking my ACLS. Our hospital requires you work at least 6mos before taking ACLS, that way you have a better idea of the drugs and process involved from working in the unit.

    Anyways, good luck.
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    Quote from mark1973
    I would appreciate feedback from anybody working in critical care.

    Mark

    My response was to you Mark..lol.
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    Quote from bodz01
    i just passed nclex recently and thanks for all your advice. i was wondering, what would the interview be like with an ICU nurse manager?
    Nurse managers are people. As you know they are different, have thier own experiences and points of views. There is no way to predict how it would be like.

    What they may be more interested in hearing is your background in critical care: clinicals, experiences, knowledge and what you can do for them. Your appearance, confidence levels helps.

    Also even if you never worked in a hospital there are many other work experiences that you can carry over and use to sell yourself. Being experienced with computers, equipment and technology shows a lot. Leadership also is a good characteristic.
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    a lot of places don't hire new grads into critical care. I did get a critical care job as a new grad (graduated in december). My school offered a preceptorship program our last semester where we could work on the floor with a nurse in an area we were interested in. I chose either ER or critical care. Got critical care and worked my butt off during my shifts. Asked questions, showed a genuine interest, and was willing to do anything they asked and apparently impressed the staff and the unit director cuz on my last shift there, she offered me job! Will start in Feb.

    It can be done


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