I started in ICU as a new grad (after spending 3 months on a general surgery floor). Now I work in Emerge.
Can you elaborate on what the two have to do with eachother? I'm assuming you mean Master's of Science in Nursing, my "MSN"? Maybe I'm totally off (just getting ready for my shift! still a little tired
), but just wondering why the MSN course automatically means you'll be working in an ICU setting.
ICU is a special place... I haven't met anyone who has developed PTSD, and I think anxiety is something most nurses find themselves with... all that said, those who might have developed PTSD or did probably got out of that area!
My main issues for needing a change and heading to Emerge was the prolonging of life when it's clear that there is nothing more to be done (you know, the 96 yr old with multiple comorbidities who came in with a COPD exacerbation and is highly unlikely to ever get off the vent let alone out of the hospital) and families just can't seem to make a decision... I used to hate having to do daily regular care and these poor human beings are just so far gone, sometimes it would seem they would look look at you accusingly as you turned them to do their backs... maybe I was imagining it but I felt like I was headed straight to hell for putting these poor people through all this when they should have been let to pass away with dignity and especially, in comfort. Keep in mind, I'm not talking about working on someone who has even a small chance. I'm talking people who have been with us forever and clearly are suffering.
Another problem I was losing my patience with and starting to get some anxiety about was the ICU psychosis that comes along with post-op medication administration in the elderly, high doses of epidurals for big post-ops, etc. Adult medication-induced confusion isn't something I deal well with, and while I know I will deal with adult confusion any where I go, there is something about the ICU psychosis and post-op med-induced confusion/aggression/agitation...
The palliation part I found okay... you are helping someone to pass away who has been through a lot, and to do it comfortably. You are offering comfort to families like no one else can. It's not easy, but you feel like you're doing something good, as opposed to something that is ripping away dignity and causing unnecessary discomfort and stress to the patient (such as prolonging life as described above).
ICU is hard, but you learn a lot, about yourself and about nursing, about humanity and about your co-workers. I wouldn't change the experience for anything, but I always wanted to work somewhere with more turn-over, and I decided to go for Emerge a few months ago. So far I am enjoying it.