I can't go to the ICU!

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    A little background: I'm just starting the final year of my nursing program. Our clinicals allow for us to have certain observation sites are various hospital units, one of them being the ICU. I have a very strong interest in critical care and would really love the opportunity to go here during school, even though it would just be a one day observation.

    So now today during orientation, as we were being handed our clinical site rotation, the teacher states that unfortunately, a conflict with another local school has lead to the ICU rotation site being removed from clinicals this semester. I'm extremely disheartened, the ONE place I was looking forward to is now gone all due to another school in another county getting the spots for its students first, or whatever happened. Am I overreacting, like I said, its just one observation day, but it was one I was REALLY looking forward to. I want to work in critical care, and I feel any way to get my name known in the ICU would help when job hunting, and one opportunity has already been taken away from me.
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  4. 2
    Yes you are overeacting. It's just one day out of your life. You will survive.One observation day is not going to make or break your career.It does not mean you will not ever get into the ICU.Make the most of the experiences you get offered and don't complain about what you didn't get. Life is full of disappointments.This small potatoes.If you think you will get into ICU as a new grad you will likely be disappointed.
    GrnTea and Hygiene Queen like this.
  5. 1
    I can see how you would be disappointed.

    I always disliked my observation clinical days. Talk about looking like the bumpiest bump on a log. You are spending half your day just figuring out where everything is on the unit.

    It was hard to impress anyone with just ONE day, anyhow. So don't take it too hard. Try to see if you can do your senior preceptorship there.
    GrnTea likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from FlorenceNtheMachine

    It was hard to impress anyone with just ONE day, anyhow. So don't take it too hard. Try to see if you can do your senior preceptorship there.
    Yeah I would absolutely love to have an ICU preceptorship next semester. I guess I was thinking that maybe this observation would help, in whatever little way, to get me a preceptorship position there.
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    I agree it is just one day. I would start letting your teachers know you would like to do your practicum in ICU. Honestly in nursing school I spent 1 day rotations in ER/OR/NICU and other places and I don't think that 1 day would have been enough to really make much of an impression on anyone.

    Does your school not have a critical care rotation? I had a mandatory 8 week critical care class which included an 8 week, 3 day a week clinical in a MICU/CCU
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    I agree that the one day won't make any difference, especially since you're only observing. If you were missing out on an actual clinical rotation, that would be one thing, but I've mostly found observation days to be boring and only helpful in that "I would hate/love to work here" kind of way, not a job securing or skill polishing kind of way.
  9. 0
    Here we go again...
  10. 0
    Quote from ChristineN
    I agree it is just one day. I would start letting your teachers know you would like to do your practicum in ICU. Honestly in nursing school I spent 1 day rotations in ER/OR/NICU and other places and I don't think that 1 day would have been enough to really make much of an impression on anyone.

    Does your school not have a critical care rotation? I had a mandatory 8 week critical care class which included an 8 week, 3 day a week clinical in a MICU/CCU
    No, we don't even get to go to the ER in my program. The only chance I have now to get into the ICU before I graduate is my preceptorship next semester
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    I think you are over-reacting. It is just one day, and even if you'd had that opportunity it may not have worked out quite the way you planned. I don't think one day is enough to "get your name known" and help you while looking for a job. My university offered many opportunities, but we didn't all get the same chances - and that is life. I had several amazing instructors in school that went above and beyond to help us get some observation chances. The one I wanted most - a NICU/PICU/PedsCTICU shadow day during peds clinicals that some of our clinical groups got, I didn't get because it did not work out (scheduling conflict, just didn't work out).

    I also didn't get the preceptorship I wanted. It was a setting I wasn't positive about, in a hospital most people regarded as rural. I learned so much during it. I even changed my number #1 specialty because of my experience in my preceptorship. The unit only had a 0.25% FTE position open, and I could not take a position with only 10 hours a week guaranteed as a new grad. I took a job, worked it for almost a year when I had an amazing opportunity to take. I love my job now. A year ago, I would never have believed I'd be where I am at now.

    Healthcare is a relatively small world. My university had ICU clinicals. It was okay...but no more ICU experience than a regular med-surg patient or working as a PCA like I did in nursing school (I frequently was sent to the ICUs). Yeah. Most of our patients were on a vent...but we never really did anything regarding the vent other than looking at the monitors and talking about the vents/concerns for vented patients (hospital policy)...

    I understand it's not something the school can arrange for you. Why not talk to your clinical instructor, academic adviser etc - and see if there is any way they can help you contact the NM of a unit? Why not make the attempt to create your own experience? Initiative means something. I work in the OR - people shadow our CRNAs all the time, people shadow us from time to time too...

    Speaking of - you mention having this clinical rotation and a preceptorship. Did you not consider getting a PCA/CNA job in a hospital preferably ICU while in nursing school? That would have likely been much more beneficial to you than a shadow day would be. It's easier to apply within a system as an internal candidate than as 'Joe off the street'... I don't know if it would fit your schedule to do something like that at this point - maybe consider volunteering within the system so it shows a higher level of interest etc?
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    Im in Med Surg 2, graduating in September, and i've only set foot in nursing homes. Crappy nursing homes. All I've done is CNA stuff. PLEASE dont get me wrong, CNAs and PCTs are super important, BUT I am here to learn more than wiping butts, spoon feeding, and bed baths. (before anyone jumps on me, I really dont mind doing that stuff, but Im just really worried, how am I supposed to work as an RN in a hospital if that's the only experience I get?)


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