New Grad. Want to work in the ICU - page 2

by msubtt 24,909 Views | 27 Comments

Hi everyone. Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me out. Id appreciate any feedback on getting a critical care job after graduation. Im graduating in 2 weeks with my BSN. I had a 15 week externship in a Trauma... Read More


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    Starting in an ICU is possible. I'm a new grad myself, and I just started in an ICU last week. Some things I have picked up on...

    To get hired, I hope you have some medical experience outside of school. I have 10 years as a paramedic behind me. My director, though, said she will look at new grads who were techs, CNA'S, and other hospital positions that expose you to some aspects of the job. She said she just wants to see something outside of nursing school. Even showing initiative and taking relevant continuing ed will get her attention.

    Do not rush out and take ACLS. You need to be halfway decent with rhythm interpretation first. ACLS no longer teaches this, but you are tested on it. Take a basic EKG class first unless you have experience with it. If you do know rhythms, however, do get your ACLS.

    Of you get an interview with the ICU where you did clinicals, make sure you mention that you were in there. As long as you did well, that will go a long way. They will ask the nurses you worked with what they thought of you. This helped me as much as being a paramedic. I actually did my senior preceptorship in the ICU I'm working in. When I interviewed, they took me on a tour of the unit and some of the nurses I worked with were there and gave me a great recommendation.

    Good luck in your job search.
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    I'm an ICU nurse n I started fresh out of nursing school with my Associate degree in nursing... It's almost 5 years now n I am still in ICU n I love it... It IS possible!!! I have to admit you will work very hard but you will learn sooo much... I love it and it is my passion... I couldn't imagine myself working anywhere else!!! Good luck and keep that dream... Because if you are determined enough you can do ANYTHING!!!
    nifty_n likes this.
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    Thank you all so much for the supportive comments. It seems like it's one of those things in life that if you work hard, and leave no stone unturned, than it is possible.
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    I went straight to ICU out of school even though many people told me not to I'm really happy I did. I couldn't picture myself doing anything else. As far as 'being ready' you know yourself better then anyone else. Go with your gut, if you're comfortable taking ACLS then do it!!! I did the same thing then took my CCRN the day I had enough patient contact hours. There's nothing wrong with furthering your education. Don't get me wrong my first year and a half was pretty rough. There were a few days I cried but there was never anything I couldn't truly handle. Plus I was lucky to be on an awesome unit, and never felt alone. The only advice I really have is of you feel like your in over your head speak up for yourself and always ask questions!!
    nifty_n likes this.
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    Hey there, I'm a new grad who was hired into a CVICU. They do have a program in our facility for a 6 month orientation that includes class time.

    I had ACLS before hire and I wish I would have saved my money. It's not useful to someone who doesn't have acute care experience and my facility doesn't really mind paying for their nurses to attend their ACLS class. But hindsight!

    I don't know if I will regret my choice, we shall see in a couple years I suppose! I think I do have realistic expectations about it. Some of my classmates wanted to go to critical care because they were tired of med/surg poo. I had to laugh, because they didn't think the ICU had poo?

    Good luck to you, hope you find what you love !
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    Not to thread-jack, but do any of you have suggestions on "getting my feet wet" prior to ICU employment (my dream) that minimize heavy lifting? I severely herniated my L5 in pedi home health and am afraid that may prevent me from ever making my critical care dream a reality...especially in the Northeast where any job is hard to come by. I certainly want to earn my keep but am wondering if ICU is a practical achievement for me given my physical limitations that will largely prevent me from dealing with adults.
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    What about the NICU? You could get your critical care fix and not hurt your back!
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    Good Morning,I was actually recently (last night) offered a job in a Med-Surg ICU. Critical care has always been my dream, however my other job offer was at Maricopa Integrated Health (County) in their med-surg department. I am still on the fence because I was a foster child so it has always been important to me to be able to give back to the community. Maricopa was my DREAM hospital, I even turned down TWO jobs for 30% more money because I thought it was so important to give back... That being said the ICU position is at (literally) the BEST hospital in Arizona, a Magnet hospital.... In my DREAM department. There are benefits to both. Maricopa has better benefits, ICU has Magnet, Maricopa has a very organized NG orientation, ICU has Ecco, Maricopa I'm serving the community like I've always wanted to do, ICU I get to have something impressive on my rsum for ACNP.Maricopa 1-5 pt ratio I will learn prioritizing and multitasking, ICU (1-1/1-2) I will have more face time with my patient and learn critical care.It's difficult but I'm assuming it CAN be done because they hire new grads for a reason... I have a lot to think about.The bottom line is that the positives and the negatives of ANY position will be close to equal... They all have benefits and downfalls. ICU does hire new grads sometimes, and they go on to be successful awesome ICU nurses.
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    New grads do get hired in to ICU, you can do it! I just did! I am a graduate of an ADN program, I passed my exam on the first try two weeks after I graduated, and was the top of my graduating class. I completed my senior practicum in the ICU, and I also was a veterinary technician before I became a nurse. I had great recommendations from my all of my instructors and preceptor. I think that because of my hard work, recommendations, and previous experience in the medical field made me a good candidate for ICU. You can do it, do not let anyone tell you that you can't.
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    It's possible. Started orientation this week. Two weeks classroom, in residency program. I start out on the step-down unit, after three months, I will return to the class room for additional orientation, plus critical care class for another two weeks, then ICU preceptorship for another three months. I'm in the PICU at a children's hospital. There are a few other colleagues who started with me. They have orientation, preceptorship and critical care class. The unit caters to both new grads and experienced nurses.

    There is hope for you. If ICU is where you want to be go for it!


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