Emerg or ICU?

  1. I am a fairly new grad and am looking to specialize but can't quite make up my mind. I love the fast pace adrenalin rush of of emerg but enjoy ICU nursing as well. Any suggestions or ideas others may have?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   veetach
    Quote from Goodie
    I am a fairly new grad and am looking to specialize but can't quite make up my mind. I love the fast pace adrenalin rush of of emerg but enjoy ICU nursing as well. Any suggestions or ideas others may have?


    Med-surg. Obtaining a good foundation in Med Surg nursing right out of school allows you the opportunity to learn the world of nursing and to improve your skills while you are in a more controlled environment. With experienced RN's helping you along the way. Sorry guys, this is still my stand on this topic.

    I am now ducking all of the hate and discontent being thrown my way.
  4. by   MrsWampthang
    Quote from Goodie
    I am a fairly new grad and am looking to specialize but can't quite make up my mind. I love the fast pace adrenalin rush of of emerg but enjoy ICU nursing as well. Any suggestions or ideas others may have?
    If you have never worked in healthcare before nursing school then veetach is right. You need to know how to do basic nursing skills without thinking about them before trying to work in an environment where you have to think quickly on your feet. Hope that makes sense. Some ERs and ICUs won't take new grads either or will only take new grads that worked as aids or student nurses there (they like to grow their own). You might want to job shadow in both places first and see which one you like best before deciding though. Just a suggestion.

    JMHO, Pam
  5. by   psychomachia
    Find a place with a good preceptor or internship program and don't listen to the proverbial "you must have med-surg" mantra that so many nurses like to chant because it isn't true. If you're willing to work hard you'll do fine.
  6. by   NCgirl
    Was forced to do a couple months of med/surg/tele....it was a total waste of my time and I hated every second of it. Much happier once I got to CVRU, now in anesthesia school.....everything from my experience that helps me now is from the unit. But I must say that's just my personal experience and opinion. I worked with a nurse in CVRU who said she wouldn't trade her 3 years in med/surg for anything.
  7. by   MaleAPRN
    Quote from Goodie
    I am a fairly new grad and am looking to specialize but can't quite make up my mind. I love the fast pace adrenalin rush of of emerg but enjoy ICU nursing as well. Any suggestions or ideas others may have?
    DO BOTH!
  8. by   Goodie
    Thanks everyone.

    Sorry I should have clarified....I'm not doing this tommrow! I plan to get a couple years grounding first. I can do a specializing course by distance so I would only be doing patho courses for the next 1-2 years before I really got into things. I guess what I am looking for are people who have done both (ICU and emerg) and the pros and cons they have. Has anyone done the ICU/Emerg combo specializing course?
  9. by   Owney


    You big-time lifesaver ER types crack me up. When I walked into the ER of the Biggest Trauma Center in my state, over 20 years ago I felt the same way. I would not wish my first two years on my worst enemy. But the longer I work ER, the more I am convinced that ALL NURSES ARE SPECIALISTS.

    Getting "basic nursing skills" together on a floor? What a joke! I went to a community college. Some of my classmates were LPNs who were doing "basic nursing" when the instuctors were in kindergarten!

    Over the years I have seen how priceless the nurses are who LOVE floor nursing and would never want to do anything else. I hope some of them read this string and give you the "what for"! How do you suppose they feel when you consider them drill instructors in your boot camp? How do you reckon they feel having to be nurse-maids to a bunch of new grads, who flood thier floor to "develop basic nursing skills"?

    ER has taught me to treasure nurses on floors, clinics and LTC. They are my eyes and ears. They have to spot the patient who needs critical care NOW. They need critical care assessment skills that are better than mine to screen out patients that are TOO SICK for the floor, when we dump on them, because we're "too busy" or, "...there are no ICU beds."

    While I would caution anybody against learning ER like I did, I would not rule out going to ANY specialty that I thought I could love. Ya gotta love it--ANY nursing job is too crappy to like.

    Love :blushkiss
  10. by   gotaluvtheER
    It depends on what type ER you have. Is the ER you are thinking about a trauma center? If so, then you will have the adrenaline rush you love everyday. However, if it's like the ER I'm at, we're not a trauma center. Small number of beds, couple of trauma rooms for the occasional code. Most of the people we see are clinic type pts, you know...cold sx, abd pain, etc. It's the occasional bad pt (2-3 per week) that gives me my adrenaline fix. If this sounds like your hospital, you may like ICU better because all your pts are "bad pts". But I've never worked in ICU either....

    p.s. Owney, I totally agree with you. I've always had much respect for floor nurses, I know I could never do what they do (15 pts a piece-YIKES). But thanks for reminding me that "they need critical care assessment skills better than mine." So true.
  11. by   Owney
    gotaluvtheER,

    Thanks for the clarification. Yes, you're right. While most of my ER career I was in the busiest trauma centers, I did spend a few years in a little bitty place. When I first started there I was glad to be able to triage patients before waking up the doc, or calling for the helicopter. We had one doc that was so bad that he was the last one to call for a code. My first night there he pried out all four front inscisors of an old lady with the BigMac, and NEVER GOT HER TUBED! I bet her undertaker was p*ssed.

    God forbid that I walked into that place without 14 years in Level 1, since I was lucky to have an LPN or EMT and hardly ever had another nurse. I had to help cover the Intermediate Care Nurse and assist with inpatients who went bad. Neat little place though. I would have retired from there if they hadn't closed.

    I know that there is a certification for med surg nurses, and I have been told that they are available in almost any specialty. So while I LOVE ER, doesn't mean that every body else is too stupid to work it.

    Love :blushkiss
  12. by   teeituptom
    ED is the only place to be

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