How Do I Get Into Critical Care Nursing?


  1. i am a student nurse begining in the fall and i was wondering what i can do to make sure that i plug myself into the right avenues to get as much critical care experience as possible. i just don't know the skills most places require of a tech and/or an rn.
    maybe there is a way i could possibly shadow a nurse?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   rjflyn
    If you get a change do a special rotation in critical care. The other thing is some hospitals to nurse intern and nurse extern programs. Intern being for new grads. Our hospital does them but this year I think its only ER and OR. We do have 3 nurse externs starting in the next few days if i recall correctly- nurse students working during the summer off who work with a particular nurse if I am correct.

    Rj
  4. by   CRNAStudent
    Yes - definitely do a critical care rotation if offered the option. I began working as a clinical tech on a PRN basis in a cardiothoracic ICU when I was in nursing school, and it helped tremendously. I found that most of the nurses are willing to teach you things, if you are willing to ask why/how/etc. It was a phenomenal learning experience and there is no doubt in my mind that it helped me make a smooth transition from student to nurse.
  5. by   mattsmom81
    Consider posting a note on the critical care nurses' bulletin board and ask if one would like to be your mentor.
  6. by   mrigas
    Thaks for your response...
    How far along were you in nursing school before you were able to get the clinical tech job? Is it something I could get now as a CNA ?
  7. by   mrigas
    Good idea...
    What would a mentorship role entail?
  8. by   purplemania
    Focus on school right now. Even if a position is not available in a critical care area when you graduate, your nursing knowledge will not be wasted if you learn how to make good assessments, prioritize tasks and manage your time. We train our new grads on what is expected of critical care nurses, but we do not expect them to have tht knowledge upon graduation. What we are looking for is intelligent, pleasant people who are willing to learn the job. But you can't learn the job if you don't finish school. Try to keep your grades up and stay in good with at least one instructor who can give references if asked.
  9. by   geekgolightly
    On the semester break before your final semester, take an ACLS course and be certified before you even graduate. That way you look appealing to any ICU unit. Also try to get a student nurse job at a hospital, if those are offered in your area.
  10. by   CRNAStudent
    I was at the end of my first year of nursing school when I got the job. I started that summer, and worked a couple of shifts a week. I was very lucky - they allowed me to work pretty much whenever I wanted when I was back in school, so I did a lot of weekends (which the regular fulltime clinical techs loved...they always hated working the weekends!). Check around and see what is offered in your area hospitals.
  11. by   ER_RN21
    I have been a CNA, done clinical and "extra" work time in the ER and a Student Nurse Externship on a Medical unit, and am now hired as a G.N in a Level I Trauma Center ICU ( Adult Critical Care ) to start in a month. Best advice? Be motivated, learn all you can, do the rotation if you can and Interview!! Experience in any area is key-- All my CNA experience is invaluable to me--I am already over the hump of worrrying about touching someone and doing care--now I can focus and learn about all the specifics that are ICU. Good luck and I hope you learn as much as you can and GO for your goal!!
    Jill
  12. by   southernchickrn
    thanks guys for all the advice. i graduate in 9 days, and have already been offered a job in a micu. i knew that this was where i wanted to be. my first two semesters in school i worked as a unit clerk in a micu and loved it, but no pca (patient care aide ) positions opened up so i went to another hospital that was hiring pca ii/student nurses this past march. the hospital i'm working at now is one that i've always wanted to work in anyway, it's just the timing was right. plus they have me for at least one year after i get my license, since i took thier $5000 nursing scholarship for nursing students. i started working as a pca ii on a cardiac/renal floor. not too bad. did two months of my externship there and realized that it was just not where i wanted to be after graduation. i would rather have two patients that i can really focus on instead of 5-6 and running all over the floor. the patients are not assigned in consecutive order. i transferred my externship to a micu last month, was interviewed and offered a job the day before thanksgiving. of course, it's working nights, but that's fine becuase i like nights anyway. you know how you can enter a room and feel a good vibe? that's how it was on this floor. i can't wait to work my externship for this month after finals and of course, graduation. i was even offered the chance to work as a pca once my externship hours are up for this month. i can only work 32 hours a month for my externship.

    adn graduate as of december 16th 2004. 9 more days to go!
    walk in love, walk in service, and you will walk in honor.:angel2:
  13. by   mnurse3139
    Since you are from the houston area, lots of the larger hospitals have intern programs for new nurses. they try to expose you to all aspects of critical care while still having a preceptor making sure you dont get into trouble.

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