opinion on ICU Nursing Assistant for a student?

  1. 0
    hey guys! i am currently going to school for my BSN. i currently work at my local hosptial as a patient transporter i have been at this job for almost 6 months, even though the job pays really good for the job and the hours work for me going to school i wish i could do more patient care and get even more hands on experience esspecially in critical care because when i graduate i would love to work in ICU or ER/Trauma. The position is for an MSICU/float NA part time.

    Should I apply for this ICU NA or stay with the job i have?

    WHat types of things does an NA do in the ICU?

    WHat do you think my chances are of getting the job since i am going to school for nursing, have had 6 months of hospital expereince, BCLS certified, and have taken care of 2 sick grandparents who had cancer when they were in their last stages of life (i know i shouldnt bring that up in an interveiw because i have been told it doesnt really count as experience since it was family but i just wanted to throw that out there?

    Are the supervisors flexiable at all with the days NA's work where you work?

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  2. 10 Comments...

  3. 2
    no experience is wasted. however, since you are still in school, keep the job that gives you the most flexibility to stay in school and do well. that is your first priority, and whatever numbah two is, it's so far behind you shouldn't be even thinking about it.

    the chances of your going from graduation to a high-level critical care unit are slim to none-- these are very, very unstable and sick people who deserve to be cared for by nurses with the judgment that comes from clinical experience, and you just won't have it yet (nor will you get it as a nursing assistant in a micu or transport aide, don't kid yourself on that score-- none of that will count for anything when you seek employment as a registered nurse).

    plan on working several years in a good solid med/surg environment, taking continuing education on as many related topics as you can and actively seeking out learning experiences with more and more complex patients. the idea is gradually making yourself more attractive to a critical care unit who will take you under its wing and teach you far more than you can presently imagine before you are remotely safe to practice independently there.

    first things first, dear. you'll get there, if you're good enough, but i honestly don't know who puts the idea into students' heads that they can go from student nurse status to critical care in one step. it's naive to expect that.
    Esme12 and VolunteerCPR like this.
  4. 0
    thanks. i know i wouldnt get into icu right after graduation although i do know of a lot of people who have that currently work in the icu as RN's but i would really like to start out in the ER because you get to see everything and its really fast paced and keeps you on your toes which i like and always have. i really wanted this job or an ER tech job just to get myself in there and be able to experience what these units are actually like and since i am a student i love being around this kind of stuff to asborb as much as i can and want to be able to experience these different areas while still being able to help people and take care of them in anyway i can. the reason i am a transport aide is because i wanted to stay in the hospital while in school and since our hospital counts senority a lot i took the position so i could work my way up to being an aide while in school
  5. 4
    meghan91,
    I worked as a nurse aide in critical care through most of my prereqs and then converted to a nurse tech role in my hospital after going through my first semester of BSN classes. I had 3 years of experience in ICU before graduating and was given a spot in critical care immediately upon graduation. The hospital had an excellent residency program and it was a good fit for me. My wife had less tech experience but also was hired straight into critical care as well as a few others. There is no doubt that working in the unit will help your chances of getting a spot after graduation. However, I would caution you to heed the counsel from GRNTEA.....your first priority needs to be whichever job gives you the best chance to do well in school right now. Also, I would caution you to only go to critical care straight out of school if the hospital has a great teaching/residency program. I was in a great facility and they work hard on education. I have met other nurses who were given jobs in small critical care units straight out of school which did not have good residency programs. Small doesn't mean bad but it can mean a lack of resources. Some of these nurses are missing some education that it seems like most ICU nurses should know. This isn't their fault but it is a reality. So, if you are going to try to get into critical care soon after graduation make sure you will get solid teaching specific to the unit you will be in. Good luck no matter what you decide.
    Esme12, meghan91, Bill E. Rubin, and 1 other like this.
  6. 2
    don't let the previous advice steer you away from ICU. You can do anything you want out of school these days. I worked in ICU as a cna and it counts for alot when your done. If you earn the respect of other nurses by working hard and learning alot while your there, you most certainly have a better shot at working there as soon as your grad.
    Dalzac and meghan91 like this.
  7. 2
    I have worked in an ICU for four years now as a CNA and am in nursing school. I love my job. I have great flexibility with my schedule and there are thing's that I can do on my floor that I cannot do on others. It took me awhile to earn all of the nurses respect since most of them had been on the floor for 20 years but I am now close with all of them. My day is different every day depending on the census. To briefly summarize I help turn patients with the nurses, a lot of finger sticks, and a lot of stocking. I do agree that you need to make sure school comes first but if you have the time the ICU is not a bad place to work.
    Esme12 and meghan91 like this.
  8. 0
    thanks everyone! its nice to hear that newer grads werent shut down right off the bat from being hired in a critical care unit. i think i am just going to apply, see if i get an interveiw and then see exactly what the hours would be like since it does not really say on the job posting. from what i have seen at my hospital it seems as though they have good teaching and education for all areas of nursing especially critical care. I know a girl who is a junior getting her BSN and last summer she was hired as a nurse extern in the ICU she said it was the best expereince ever, she learned so much from the nurses in the ICU, that if it wasnt for the wonderful nurses in the ICU she doesnt think she would have found out that the ICU was where she wanted to be, and that once she was with the nurses and they were helping her it made everything she learned in school (even though she already has had clinical classes) kind of come together and make more sense. She now works in the ICU as an aide and loves it. I am without a doubt going to apply for an extern position in the summer and if i got into the ICU that would be wonderful because i would actually get to do more "nurse like stuff" in that area but if not and i got the position on another floor or unit i would be just as happy to get the experience. I feel like all of the nurses in our ICU are really open to teaching students and helping them learn and everytime i am up there i love how the ICU group is so together and helps everyone, it is really like they are a family.


    do you guys know some things that an ICU N/A does? i know like basic care needs and stuff but is there anything different that they do?
  9. 1
    Wow...................

    I agree, stay with the position that offers the most flexibility and doesn't interfere with schoolwork...but if the ICU position can offer you that, then GO FOR IT...and if you happen to stumble upon a kick ass GN ICU residency program come graduation, go for that too!

    Good luck to you
    meghan91 likes this.
  10. 1
    There are so many new grads the get jobs in the ED and ICU before they even get out of nursing school.. I believe it is you that is naive.
    sopger22 likes this.
  11. 0
    Hi meghan91-

    I've been a CNA for 4 years and now worked in ICU for 2 years now and have absolutely loved it.
    The first thing you'll need to do is get your certification to be a nurses aide. After that it is beneficial to get experience working on a med/surg or tele- it really helps you with time management so when you get up to ICU you'll be more ready to hit the floor running.
    The status of patients in the ICU can also change very quickly- and most hospitals would like their techs to have at least a yr experience on the floor before going to ICU.

    I was hired to be a tech and secretary and was trained to get my critical care tech (CCT)- I work in a small county hospital so it is usually myself and two RN's. I keep track of intake and output for every hour, temperatures every four hours, any fingers ticks for diabetics (and some are done every hour for pts on insulin drips), feed pts, and I also do blood draws for labs, insert Foley catheters, insert IVs, discontinue catheters and IVs, bathe pts, restock supplies, and assist the nurses with anything they need and assist physicians putting in central lines. During a code I only do CPR. most of our patients are on vents so ill take their restraints off and do some ROM with extremities and fingers, and ill turn them every 2 hrs to prevent decubs.

    It's been the most rewarding experience of my life and I love the environment. I'm in nursing school now and I'd love to work in ICU- but honestly... I'm too scared to start right out of school in an ICU and I think it would be good again, to have floor experience or just clinical experience before going to ICU. After I started nursing school- I've learned that there is Sooooooooooo much more to everything then there seems and I've heard it's a very vertical learning curve from being on a tele or medsurg floor and then moving to an ICU.

    But you can do anything you set your mind to!
    Best of luck!


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