Would this be a good way to increase my chances at an ICU job?

  1. I love the ICU. I did my senior year practicum at a neurotrauma ICU at a Level 1 hospital and I learned SO much. I knew that's what I wanted to do.

    So right before I graduate nursing school I apply to area hospitals with Critical Care/ICU internships for new grads.
    Combine my semi-low (3.45) GPA and the highly competitive and saturated market of new graduate nurses (DFW area) and that = no dice.

    Now I've been a nurse for a year and I'm stuck; I'm not a new grad so I can't apply for new grad internships and because of that I have to apply to ICU positions as a experienced nurse. And every ICU position I've run across requires previous experience in the ICU.

    But I've learned from a friend in their ICU unit had an online program to complete. They're using the American Academy of Critical Care Nursing (AACN) program called Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO) which the hospital is paying for them to take.

    So long story short, I thought if they can take this program what's stopping me from taking it.

    I looked it up and it's $300.
    If I pay for the program and complete it, would that increase my chances of getting hired for an ICU job?
    Last edit by Brian S. on Oct 20
    •  
  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Greenclip
    I really don't think it would help your chances. If you get hired into an ICU, the unit will pay for you to take the ECCO program. The program isn't meaningful without the clinical experience to go with it. It's designed to help you assimilate and understand the clinical experiences that are unique to critical care.

    I would suggest that you continue working, which can't possibly look bad on your resume, and keep looking around for openings. If you can consider moving out of the DFW area, you will have more options.

    I would also suggest that you keep your desire to go into anesthesia very much to yourself. The ICU manager who interviews you would much prefer to hire someone who is going to stay in the unit, not someone who plans on a minimum amount of time before moving on to CRNA school.
  4. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    @Greenclip: I had an interview with an ICU manager and he actually tested my knowledge. He gave a pt's S&S, VS, and a little bit of his medical history. I had to describe what I'd assess, what I would recommend, and what medications the patient would be on and why.
    And I had five minutes to solve it.
    I solved it, the patient had a broken leg and difficulty breathing, his O2 sat was in the 80's, and his VS were off the charts. High BP and HR, the broken leg, the CT scan showed blood clot in his lung - pulmonary embolism. You would give him a cardizem drip to help lower his heart rate and a heparin drip to help break up the clot while cranking up the pt's oxygen.
    I told the hiring manager all of it and he told me I was right. But instead of 5 minutes it took me 7. He ended the interview then and there.

    I've been unemployed for 7 months. It's completely destroyed my confidence, self esteem and self worth. And on top of that I have Asperger's/high functioning autism which only makes it worse. Bully for me for not boning up on critical care nclex questions and read my copy of Critical Care Made Easy and I may have actually stood a fighting chance.

    And CRNA school is literally just a pipe dream of mine; I planning on staying at the ICU for at least three years. Candidate profiles for CRNA/DNAP schools in Texas show they had 4-5 years of ICU and only then were they expected. I will probably never be a CRNA.
    Last edit by AesthesiaSeeker on Oct 6 : Reason: Said the same thing twice by accident
  5. by   ICUman
    Are you willing to relocate to another state? I know somewhere you'd be hired to ICU.
  6. by   CardiacDork
    I didn't know heparin broke up clots. I may be wrong but I don't think that's the mechanism of action.

    The clinical scenario you are describing sounds like a fat embolus, I believe they're common after orthopedic surgery.

    It is a shame but neurotypical people will have a hard time understanding you. They'll perceive your ways as rude, awkward, and unacceptable. Even people in the medical field.

    I really doubt he didn't hire you because it took you 7 minutes as opposed to 5. I think you should te assess that. If he mentioned anything he may have been kidding.

    This is really a tough situation but I hope the best for you. You shouldn't be discriminated for the way your brain is wired but unfortunately nursing and medicine are careers highly based on social interactions, language, and communication.
  7. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    Quote from CardiacDork
    I didn't know heparin broke up clots. I may be wrong but I don't think that's the mechanism of action.

    The clinical scenario you are describing sounds like a fat embolus, I believe they're common after orthopedic surgery.

    It is a shame but neurotypical people will have a hard time understanding you. They'll perceive your ways as rude, awkward, and unacceptable. Even people in the medical field.

    I really doubt he didn't hire you because it took you 7 minutes as opposed to 5. I think you should te assess that. If he mentioned anything he may have been kidding.

    This is really a tough situation but I hope the best for you. You shouldn't be discriminated for the way your brain is wired but unfortunately nursing and medicine are careers highly based on social interactions, language, and communication.
    I thought the same thing as well regarding mechanism of action-wise which is why it was on the tip of my tongue but I didn't want to say it.

    I came into the interview and spoke with the night manager who I'd actually be working with. He was very polite and told me he was eager to hire me. He asked how I got into nursing and I told him I went to Louisiana State for pre-med, ended up being unhappy and then transferred to an accelerated nursing program that had just opened up in Dallas and got my BSN 18 months later. The night manager was actually really curious about how pre-med compared to nursing; I told him things don't make sense at first but they all, while being different, make up the entirety of every body process. Every cell is going to behave relatively the same way, components are always going to enter the cell through specific channels. Chemistry is all about the cell's energy making process and what the body does with enzymes; neurotransmitters are almost entirely based off of enzyme-binding receptors. Opioids will attach themselves to the same neurotransmitters and, with the invention of naloxone, any Narcan that enters a person's system will detach the opioid molecule and 'compete' for placement, this is called a co-enzyme inhibitor.
    Genetics is 100% about DNA replication, looking at chromosomes for conditions such as Down Syndrome, Superman Syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and more than I've forgotten in the four years that has passed. In fact the entire process of aging is 100% due to the process of DNA replication. Each chromosome has a region of protection at each end called telomeres and (theoretically) as we age/our DNA replicates the telomeres break down, disappear and our chromosomes lose that protection which can alter our DNA during replication.

    The night manager was really interested in me, and then came the day manager. He was very arrogant, I was supposed to interview with him and he was 30 minutes late and walked in and said "Oh that's right, this was supposed to happen at 1. Oh well, I'm here now so fill me in on the boring stuff".

    I mentioned the 5 minutes because (I've never had this happen to me before) he pulled out a stopwatch from his pocket and watched it as I tried to figure out the clinical case.
    Last edit by AesthesiaSeeker on Oct 7 : Reason: Information in this post is likely not 100% correct. I ended my pre-med track in 2013 and this is just what I can remember.
  8. by   Irish_Mist
    Quote from AesthesiaSeeker
    I thought the same thing as well regarding mechanism of action-wise which is why it was on the tip of my tongue but I didn't want to say it.

    I came into the interview and spoke with the night manager who I'd actually be working with. He was very polite and told me he was eager to hire me. He asked how I got into nursing and I told him I went to Louisiana State for pre-med, ended up being unhappy and then transferred to an accelerated nursing program that had just opened up in Dallas and got my BSN 18 months later. The night manager was actually really curious about how pre-med compared to nursing; I told him things don't make sense at first but they all, while being different, make up the entirety of every body process. Every cell is going to behave relatively the same way, components are always going to enter the cell through specific channels. Chemistry is all about the cell's energy making process and what the body does with enzymes; neurotransmitters are almost entirely based off of enzyme-binding receptors. Opioids will attach themselves to the same neurotransmitters and, with the invention of naloxone, any Narcan that enters a person's system will detach the opioid molecule and 'compete' for placement, this is called a co-enzyme inhibitor.
    Genetics is 100% about DNA replication, looking at chromosomes for conditions such as Down Syndrome, Superman Syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and more than I've forgotten in the four years that has passed. In fact the entire process of aging is 100% due to the process of DNA replication. Each chromosome has a region of protection at each end called telomeres and (theoretically) as we age/our DNA replicates the telomeres break down, disappear and our chromosomes lose that protection which can alter our DNA during replication.

    The night manager was really interested in me, and then came the day manager. He was very arrogant, I was supposed to interview with him and he was 30 minutes late and walked in and said "Oh that's right, this was supposed to happen at 1. Oh well, I'm here now so fill me in on the boring stuff".

    I mentioned the 5 minutes because (I've never had this happen to me before) he pulled out a stopwatch from his pocket and watched it as I tried to figure out the clinical case.
    Did you by any chance do the accelerated BSN program through Texas Tech in Dallas? I graduated from that program last year.
  9. by   Ddestiny
    I'm sorry if I missed this somewhere in your posts, but I didn't see if you are applying to any non-ICU jobs. If the market is saturated and your resume has a hit against it in that you've got a gap in employment, then you have to be willing to apply to positions that are not your dream job. Honestly, jumping into critical care after not having experience for a while (and with such little experience to draw on in the first place) might be setting yourself up for failure, especially given your low self-esteem. There is experience and knowledge to be gained anywhere. If you can get a hospital job on the floor, absolutely take it! It can be a great way to get back into things, learn a lot and raise your confidence.

    Since it is such an interest to you, you can still do Continuing Education in critical care or trauma in the meantime (or listen to YouTube lectures -- there are some great ones out there!), but the longer you have this gap in employment the harder it is to get that next job. Do you have any former classmates that work on units that are hiring, that also have positive unit cultures? I'd start there, then look at units where you don't have an "insider," then look for outside of the hospital jobs. Good luck with your job hunting.
  10. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    No I went to West Coast University; it opened in 2010, got accredited in 2011 and by the time 2014 came around they still weren't at capacity and literally accepted everyone with no waiting list and you could start immediately.
  11. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    @Ddestiny: At this point I am literally applying for any position that moves, whether it be an ambulatory clinic or a floor position or tele or even SNF although the slowness of it kills me more than the actual job itself.

    The only reason I mentioned critical care is because even after 7 months of doing no nursing whatsoever I was still able to solve the hypothetical clinical case, even though it took me 7 minutes instead of five. That was such a huge confidence boost...I can't put into words what it meant to me. I was literally expecting myself to flounder and 100% bomb but the fact that I got it right just gave me hope that somewhere out there I have more than just a snowball's chance in hell of figuring **** out.

    Would I start it right away even if they offered it to me? Absolutely not. It was for a day position and my intensive outpatient rehab (drugs aren't my problem so I don't know why they call it rehab but whatever) is Monday, Thursday and Friday from 2-5 PM. I imagine telling a manager I can't work nearly half of the week and being totally screwed schedule-wise.

    I was thinking about what you said regarding continuing ed. I've done a LOT of research online and aside from helpful youtube videos that teach you to solve problems there are very few actual hands-on resources that I can take to improve my skills. But there's a hospital in Florida and a hospital in North Hollywood, CA that offer so-called 6 day 'ICU prep' with hands-on simulation lab cases and actual a$$ in seat lectures. Of course I've gotta find someone whose actually taken it and been successful landing an ICU job to see if it's legitimate.

    My nursing school class was different; our college wasn't like a typical college where students were close and studied together, succeeded together or failed together. Honestly you could draw a 50 mile radius around the school and that's where everyone was located. It's unfortunate that it was an every man/woman for themselves experience. The people who I know got ICU positions right out of nursing school were either former Air Force medics, the daughter of a prominent hospital administrator with 30 years tenure and a guy my age who immigrated from Syria where he spent time helping tribal doctors amputate damaged/necrotic/non-functional limbs from victims of ISIS/Baathist attacks. Now that guy was really something, very humble about himself and very friendly.
    Sadly I'm pretty sure I am too dumb and inexperienced to even pretend that I have a shot at what they have.
  12. by   CardiacDork
    Honestly I think you have a shot at whatever it is you'd like to do! Elevate your self confidence. Be sure of yourself. Let me let you in on a little secret. There are some ICU nurses out there that I don't understand HOW they are ICU nurses. So if THEY can land and maintain their ICU jobs, you most definitely can as well.
  13. by   Julius Seizure
    I agree with considering moving out of the DFW market. It is competitive for someone without experience who doesn't qualify as a new grad, like you said. How broad is your search radius? Just Dallas proper? Are you including Denton, McKinney, other outlying suburbs?
  14. by   chacha82
    I think the bigger problem is that you have been unemployed for 7 months. If you want to work ICU, ultimately I am sure you will be able to do it. I would focus on getting a full-time job at a hospital and work that job, ICU or not. After a year or two at most hospitals you can put in for a transfer to the ICU.

close