Go to ICU without MedSurg Experience? - page 2

I hear it all the time from experienced nurses when I say that I want to work in critical care, "You need at least a year of med-surg experience because you will get to see and learn sooooo much". ... Read More

  1. by   nurse4theplanet
    Timothy

    Thank you for your very honest comments. I have considered much of what you have discussed over the last few months, but I do think that my personality requires me to take on the challenge...otherwise, I feel...bored...like my full potential is not being reached...I really don't know how to explain it...I crave knowledge/experience/challenge/puzzles/etc. I feel disconnected in other specialties but my heart soars when I am in the critical care setting, or even when the medical response team responds to a call on my med surg floor when I am working there. I know it will not be easy by no means...but I am up for the challenge.
  2. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    Timothy

    Thank you for your very honest comments. I have considered much of what you have discussed over the last few months, but I do think that my personality requires me to take on the challenge...otherwise, I feel...bored...like my full potential is not being reached...I really don't know how to explain it...I crave knowledge/experience/challenge/puzzles/etc. I feel disconnected in other specialties but my heart soars when I am in the critical care setting, or even when the medical response team responds to a call on my med surg floor when I am working there. I know it will not be easy by no means...but I am up for the challenge.
    Good for you! I think you'll do great.
  3. by   MistyDawnRN06
    Go where you love it because you'll perform better. I say go to ICU. Went straight there as a new grad. It's tough, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I had my fill of the floors in nursing school clinical rotations.

    My only piece of advice is to make sure the ICU you choose has a very good orientation program. Make sure you are put into an ICU course or some sort of critical care education. Make sure that you are put through an EKG course. Make sure that you will be offered opportunities for certifications such as ACLS. Also, make sure you get an extended orientation (I recommend no less than 16 weeks). Don't choose a facility that hangs you out to dry. You'll get in trouble!!! Make sure the facility you hire in to wants nurses that know why they are doing the things that they are doing for patients, not just mechanical robots there to hang drugs. Make sure critical thinking skills are encouraged.

    Much luck!!
  4. by   sunshineCCRN
    I went straight to ICU, and it was okay. I actually did 13 wks on med-surg after working ICU, and I was bored, frustrated, and stressed.

    I agree about finding a hospital with a good program. What is most important is that you are teachable AND stand up for yourself. Does that make sense? If management wants to give you 6 wks orientation, or give you a different preceptor every day, etc, and you're not ready, you need to say no. No one else will say it for you. I know it's a fine line, but it's your license, and there are people out there that love to dump on the new nurse. On the other hand, you can't be too negative, either. There were many times when I was hearing the same diatribe on straightening cords, drawing blood, or ventilator settings every day. The tendency is to roll your eyes and say "Can you teach me something I haven't learned yet?" But the worst thing in critical care (besides coming off as incompetent) is to come off as cocky.

    I'm glad I did ICU; it's the only place I feel challenged enough. And despite the hurdles, I would do it the same way....but a little more self-assured. Be kind, thorough, conscientious, and don't EVER let yourself gossip at work. Have a good attitude, ask questions, and you'll be fine. Good luck!
    Last edit by sunshineCCRN on Oct 13, '06
  5. by   trebor1
    Direct from school to the ICU - its the best way. I think there is no need for med-surg expirience to be a excellent ICU nurse.
  6. by   tde1992
    Go to ICU, do what makes you happy. If you are in Maryland University of Maryland Medical Center (Medical Intensive Care Unit) needs nurses. We hire new grads (I was one of them). Our orientation is now 4 months. We have an excellent mix of experienced nurses mixed with new grads, mixed with nurses from various countries. It is an amazing experience. I could not imagine trying to locate a MD. Our residents, interns and fellows are always on our unit. I think that I would not survive on a med-surg unit. I say this because it is nothing like a sedated/ventilated patients. You got to love who ever invented propofol, fentanyl, ativan, and midazolam. Nothing like a comftorable, quite patient.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]i wouldn't want timothy's to be the lone voice of dissent. so i'll agree with him.

    after 28 years in nursing, 23 of them in icu, i've seen a lot of new icu nurses come and go. the ones that last the longest without burning out are the ones who started with some med-surg experience. icu is difficult, and there's a lot to learn on top of your basic nursing skills. i think those nurses who have the basics down before they try icu do a lot better in icu, and tend to be happier for longer. they also tend to survive the politics better.

    a lot of nurses who went straight from nursing school to icu will tell you that they did just great. and maybe some of them did. maybe all of them did. i wonder what their charge nurses and preceptors would say, though. i've seen an awful lot of stupid newbie mistakes made by new grads who had no idea they were making mistakes . . . there was just so much to absorb all at once that some lessons didn't get learned as thoroughly as they might have.
  8. by   Alexsys
    Quote from jaymz
    went straight to the ICU after nursing school, they had a 3 month precepted
    orientation . That was 2.5 years ago , NO problems CVICU/CCU.
    Never worked any other floor or type.
    good luck

    I received a BSN w/ my RN
    Same here!(I just wont have my BSN until April)

    I went straight to the ICU/MICU and I love it! (Done a few months on cardiac, but went back to crit care. Missed it too much)

    Best of luck to you!
    Last edit by Alexsys on Nov 2, '06
  9. by   augigi
    I did 4 months on an ortho ward in my grad year before doing an ICU rotation - and they asked me to stay. So I did my critical care course and stayed for 8 years. If you're the right personality, and have basic experience (I worked as an aide throughout my RN degree) and a willingness to learn, you'll be fine.
  10. by   nogzilla
    I was a CNA in a nursing home for 3 years, a nurse tech on a rehab and med-surg floor for a year and then to an ICU as a RN. I value my experience but I work with plenty of competent nurses that came here without a lick of any other experience. Do what you want. The ICU is an amazing place to learn, jump in with both feet if thats what makes you happy.
  11. by   Proudnurse1978
    Don't waste your time in Med/Surg. You learn a lot more in the ICU.
  12. by   nurseangel47
    Do what it is that makes you happy. Don't beat yourself up over maybe not getting the medical/surgical experiences...you'll be saturated in knowledge from your experiences in the intensive care unit. Go for it!
  13. by   bigmona
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    The options are there to go straight to ICU. But, let me give one caveat:

    If you choose to learn to drive on the nascar circuit, don't be surprised when some of the drivers run you down. It happens. It happens, alot.

    I'm not saying don't do it. But, it IS a choice that YOU are making. As a result, you really can't complain about being 'eaten' when there are obstacles and attitudes to overcome based on your choice.
    can you give an example of being "run down"? do you mean getting taken advantage of for being the new kid on the block?

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