ICU VS. the ER?

  1. To ICU, and ER Nurses:

    Hi. I am curious to know the difference between ICU Nursing, and the ER. Do the Er people just treat people immediately, and iCU treat over the long-run ...or how does that work? So sorry to be so clueless, yet I guess until I am actually in clinical rotations I won't know the difference. So, I am curious to know what you think? Thanks for any advice, and interpretations of the difference between the two.

    WILLBEaFuture RN,
    Anna Miller
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    ER receive the patient, assess them, stabilise them, then send them to ICU for longer term care. ICU stay may be several hours to several months, depending on the patient, and there is usually 1-2 patients per nurse.
  4. by   SillyLilly
    I do not work in either but I started off in a MS Tele unit. I plan to go to ICU later.

    Look at the ER and ICU boards, as they have ALOT of "a day in the life of a ___ nurse" and other questions on what 'it is to be" that particular nurse.

    GOOD LUCK!
  5. by   miracle1986
    Emergency room (ER) nursing is emergency care needed. Very fast paced at times. Patients coming in via ambulance or by car or even walk ins. Intensive care nursing (I.C.U.) are patients that are already assessed and admitted with life-threatening problems that need to be closely monitered via machines and nurses. Slow paced...but at times can be hectic.
  6. by   RN BSN 2009
    yes ICU nursing is more detail oriented....
  7. by   Knoodsen
    There are lots of ways to look at the topic. Here's one: ER nurses are like the house painter that slaps on most of the paint. The ICU nurse then comes along to do the trim. But seriously, ER nurses must have critical care skills (we, yes I am an ER nurse, have to take care of unstable patients). Also, the emergency nurse must care for everyone that comes through the door, the ICU nurse takes 1 to 3 patients and that's it. Also, emergency nurses don't know what's wrong with their patient. Other nurses have a diagnosis for their patients. I believe that emergency nursing is the most challenging and that's why I do it. If I get to feeling lazy, I will go back to the unit.
  8. by   augigi
    Wow, that's nice and insulting to ICU nurses...:uhoh21:

    The reason we have 1-3 (as do ER nurses, when the patient is critical) is because we take care of everything for the patient.

    Why do some people have to perpetuate this ridiculous competitiveness? Neither is superior, they are just different.

    Me, I like advanced haemodynamics, playing with inotropes/ventilators etc. I like the continuity of looking after a patient from admission to recovery and discharge. I find ER nursing to be focused on time critical issues (as it should be), and it makes me frustrated that so much else is getting missed.
    I also like that ICU patients mostly can't talk back.
  9. by   jules5515
    Oh, that wasn't very nice. I don't think there's any area in nursing you can work if you want to be lazy.
    This is exactly the thing about nurses that irritates me. So many people think they work harder than anyone else because of the area they're in.
    If you stay in the business long enough and move around some, you'll see that everyone is critically important in a hospital.
    I've been working in a hospital for 28 years. I've done ICU, CCU, ER, NICU, nursing supervisor, management.
    They're all tough.
    I wish we could show respect to other departments. Noone is better than anyone else.
  10. by   jojotoo
    Quote from Knoodsen
    There are lots of ways to look at the topic. Here's one: ER nurses are like the house painter that slaps on most of the paint. The ICU nurse then comes along to do the trim.
    Hey! I really like that! It's a good description!
  11. by   JoeMacERRN
    It's 2 different worlds...ER vs ICU. Best nurses I've ever met, or worked with were ICU nurses. Nursing in an ER is pretty easy, but an ICU is much more intense. That's a pretty big simplification of a complicated question.
  12. by   jojotoo
    Quote from JoeMacERRN
    It's 2 different worlds...ER vs ICU. Best nurses I've ever met, or worked with were ICU nurses. Nursing in an ER is pretty easy, but an ICU is much more intense. That's a pretty big simplification of a complicated question.

    Joe,you make me think we're coming up on April Fool's Day instead of Christmas! Just what makes the ER so easy and the ICU so intense when I am usually holding TWO ICU patients and still have at least two ER patients. Did the ride in the elevator up to the ICU suddenly complicate their care?
  13. by   augigi
    No, their care was always complicated, which is why they go to an intensive care unit.

    Look at the names, folks. ERs provide emergency care. ICU provides intensive care.
  14. by   jojotoo
    Quote from augigi
    No, their care was always complicated, which is why they go to an intensive care unit.

    Look at the names, folks. ERs provide emergency care. ICU provides intensive care.

    So if their care was ALWAYS complicated, why is the ER easy and the ICU intense? (My original question to Joe)

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