ICU Nurses - help! Paper to write

  1. Heya,
    Some of you may have sen my earlier posts regarding a papoer I was supposed to write. It was going to be a braod overview of nursing specialties.

    Well, my instructor rejected the idea and, instead, wants me to focus on one specialty "that you want to work in". As I am still working prereqs, I have no clue which area I want to work in... they all sound interresting! But as I am currently doing ICU work on animals, I figured it was a logical choice.

    I have to turn in an outline of the paper in 5 days (Tues) but am at a complete loss as to how I'm going to structure the paper.

    Can anyone suggest some sites with good info on the various ICU/CCU subspecialties?

    I'm also looking for sites (or you folks) that will give me information on such things as -
    What personaltity types are generally drawn to the specialty?
    What certifications are required? Which are preferred but not required?
    What is the average experience of an ICU nurse before entering the specialty? (Possible flame-bait, feel free to PM me about this one)
    What skills set an ICU nurse apart from other specialties? (I see this one as another possible flame-bait, PM me if ya like)
    Is the ratio of men:women RNs different in ICU/CCU than other specialties?

    At some point in the forseeable future, I'd also like to arrange an "interview" with an ICU/CCU RN, perhaps via AIM or in the chat room here if there are any volunteers.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   NurseGirlKaren
  4. by   hoolahan
    I'm also looking for sites (or you folks) that will give me information on such things as -

    What personaltity types are generally drawn to the specialty?

    It has always been a joke with the ICU nurses I have known that they are an "anal" bunch, perfectionists. A lot of nurses originally may try out ICU b/c "you only get 2 or 3 pt's". I discovered ICU when I joined a float pool at work, and started to be sent to ICU. I didn't have a clue! But I showed interest, so the regular staff molded me, and directed me to reading material and resources to learn more, and I got hooked.(But, I do home health now, why didn't you pick that one?? LOL?)

    What certifications are required? Which are preferred but not required?

    Required? Usually BCLS and ACLS (basic and adv cardiac life support) Preferred? CCRN, but you can't get it until you have a certain amt of expereince.

    What is the average experience of an ICU nurse before entering the specialty? (Possible flame-bait, feel free to PM me about this one)

    Variable. Some places take GN's w a longer orientation, and I have seen that done succcessfully. The key to success is for everyone involved to keep reminding themselves they are orienting a brand new nurse, no shortcuts, and no cutting off orientation early to halp staffing. The preceptor and GN in this case MUST be counted as one for staffing for an extebnded period of time. A lot of places offer this but don't come through.

    Most, I would guess, have a nim of one to three yrs med-surg experience.

    What skills set an ICU nurse apart from other specialties? (I see this one as another possible flame-bait, PM me if ya like)

    The best nurses for ICU are ones who are always reading to keep up w the newest meds and advances, those to strive to understand the concepts at a cellular level, can be very flexible and prioritize quickly.

    Is the ratio of men:women RNs different in ICU/CCU than other specialties?

    I can't give you any stats on that, but in my own observation, all I can say is that more men are drawn to the critical care areas, than other specialities. So a guess?? It really depends, I have actually worked on a few nights where I was the only female of four nurses on duty. I really didn't pay too much attn b/c we see each other as nurses, period.
  5. by   vettech
    Heya Folks,
    On the AACN website, in the demographics area, they list ICU and CCU separately. Pardon me for asking such a novice question but, can someone explain the difference?

    Also, I've looked for a site with a breakdown of what % of critical care nurses work in what specialties. The AACN site has one but it is so "fine tuned" that its not useful to me. Any suggestions?
  6. by   NurseGirlKaren
    CCU is coronary care unit. MI's, severe heart failure, etc. etc. Frequent, close monitoring, some intubated, drips.

    ICU is intensive care unit. Just about everything else that requires frequent monitoring or special care (ventilators, CVVH, certain drips, etc.). Respiratory failure, GI bleeds, DKA, the list goes on and on.

    Some hospitals have a combined ICU and CCU; some keep them separate.

    As far as percentages, I have NO idea.

    Good luck!!
  7. by   vettech
    Heya Folks,
    For those reading this for the first time, I am required to write a paper for a class called "Technical Report Writing" about my future career. Quite a lot of us in the class are nursing students so the instructor specifically told us to pick one specialty and write about it. I've picked ICU. We're required to "interview" at least two people in the career we're writing about. The prof has said that this method is an acceptable means of interviewing.

    I have an updated list of questions I'd like y'all to respond to. I really apprecite all the help on my paper.

    What do you know now (regarding ICU work) that you wish you'd known before you started?

    What are the best aspects of working in the ICU?

    Conversely, what are the worst aspects of working in the ICU?

    What certifications are required? Which are preferred but not required?

    What personaltity types are generally drawn to the specialty?

    What is the average experience of an ICU nurse before entering the specialty?

    What skills set an ICU nurse apart from other specialties?

    What skills do the following subspecialties use that few others do? - (i.e. Neuro monitors intracranial pressure but few others do, etc.)
    Burn ICU?
    Neuro ICU?
    Surgical ICU?
    Pediatric/Neonatal ICU?
    Coronary ICU (CCU)?

    Approximately what percentage of RNs in the typical hospital are working in the various ICUs? (Rough guesses are fine but I'd love a link to firm numbers if anyone has 'em.)

    Is the ratio of men:women RNs different in ICU/CCU than other specialties?

    What signifigant changes have been brought to ICU nursing in the area of new technology in recent years? Where do you see the trend going?

    What changes (if any) have you seen in ICU care that are related to the increase in HMO/PPO plans?

    What are the primary effects of the nursing shortage in the ICU? Has it affected the nurseatient ratio in ICU?

    Do you feel the % of patients that spend time in the ICU is increasing, decreasing or staying the same? If changing, why do you think this is?
  8. by   hoolahan
    vetech, I am not working in an ICU now and haven't set foot in one for about two years now, but I did work there for 17 years.

    I think I will leave this to the fresh blood to answer, but if you don't get any bites, pm me and I'll answer your questions.

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