Steth, Hi! You ask a very good question to which alot of folks will have different answers based on their experiences. I have to say that I look back to my new grad experience 20 years ago on an unusual kind of surgical intermediate care unit in that we had arterial line monitoring and everyone was on bedside monitors (no telemetry) and we did drips. It was hard enough that first yr to get down organization skills, learn new tasks, deal with drips, codes, etc. I, for myself, could not imagine working as a new grad in our busy level I ER/trauma center and currently we do not hire new grads. I have to agree with most that either floor or step-down or even intensive care is a better way to "break in" that first year of nursing.
But if you really desire to go to ER, I do have a few suggestions. Ask alot of questions in your interview:
1) How long is internship or orientation?
2) Do you offer core ER classes, CEN review, critical care courses?
3) Will you definitely get to go to these classes as part of orientation? (You can of course think of a more tactful way of saying it!).
4) How is the repoire (sp?) between the docs and nurses?
5) What is the average patient load?
6) What is the most patients I will have at one time?
Check out the mood of the staff. Are people helping each other out? How are things flowing? Is there alot of yelling and screaming going on? (personally, I don't believe in screaming mimi's in code situations
) How well are the docs working with the nurses? Are their patients is stretchers in hallways all over the place? (yeah,yeah, I know, a reality at most places, but we actually don't do it-yet).
I think the most important things to look for is a supportive environment, an excellent internship including classes.
I know of hospitals that are offering six month internships for new grads who will agree to work in the ER for at least one year after the internship.
Well, anyway, just a few thoughts. Good luck with your decision! And remember, even if you do a year on the floor/ICU before ER, it will fly by!! You'll be in ER before you know it!
Take care, Jeanne