How do you know...

  1. if you are ready to become an ICU nurse?
    Need advice please
    Thanks
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   TopherSRN
    You don't until you start working in one. I started right out of school, as did many people I know. Its not bad at all and you learn a ton. ICU and med-surg are two totally different areas. I don't buy into the med-surg pre-req for working in a unit. Two different rule sets and expectations. If you are self-motivated and want to learn then you should do fine. Just ask questions and be like a sponge. The one great thing about a unit is if you have halfway decent co-workers then you always have someone's brain to pick. You can get them to look at your patient if you know something isn't right but can' quite pinpoint it.


    Then again you might just hate working in an ICU, but there's only one way to find out.
  4. by   dorimar
    No body who goes to work directly into ICU from nursing school buys into the "M/S pre-requisite thing" or else you wouldn't have done it. That is hardly an unbiased view point though.
  5. by   nursern20
    I agree with trying it out cuz you really dont know til u experience actually working in one. I guess if you feel your assessment skills are as sharp as they can be, and you feel like you have a handle on your organizational/multitasking skills, and also are able to learn things quickly, then you may be ready. Im in one right now and i just graduated, and am finding myself having a hard time grasping everything that is being thrown at me all at once. I'm very stressed out and even thinking to go to med/surg. Even though they have different set of rules, etc... the pts are not as critical as they are in icu. hope that helped some.
  6. by   KAC
    I'm a nursing student and have been working as an LPN at a hospital and I graduate in December from RN school. I just finished my unit rotation and to my suprise I really like it, I have been on a med-surg floor for 2 years and I have the same question...I feel I'm ready to take the step and learn more. On a med-surg floor I feel I'm running my legs off and I'm ready to focus on a couple of patients at a time and learn more in depth of what is going on...Any advise.
  7. by   cardsRN
    if you think you're running your legs off now, just wait till you start in icu. 3 yrs experience in med tele and i thought i was organized and quick... damn. i run from am till pm. get it all done, but wow. i thought i worked hard before but i had no idea. think NO pct help at all and HEAVY pt. not to discourage, it's good. but if you're thinking of icu, be sharp, be tough enough for criticism, be ready to know what you're talking about and stick to your guns, and be ready to work REALLY hard.
  8. by   tde1992
    I started in an ICU straight from school. I command anyone who works on a med-surg floor. I could never have more than two patients. Organizational skills are something I think is innate. You assessment skills will always improve and it should. You should always be reaching towards self actualization in any profession you are in. In an ICU you can focus on just 2 patients and truely get an understanding of what is going on medically. It is an excellent environment if you are a person who loves to learn. In my ICU (in a large teaching hospital), we have residents, interns and fellows that are on the floor at all times. The attendings are here for rounds and periodically. The nurses takes part in rounds. We have PCT who do vitals Q2H, the do baths with the nurses assistance depending on the acuity of the patient. We have a transport team (with a nurse) finally which is a blessing. I do not believe you have to be a med surg nurse first. It's just like starting any new job it will be a little overwhelming at first then it gets easier, just like anything in life. But you won't know unless you try. Stop sitting on the sideline, go out and play the game.
  9. by   Floridanurse
    Dear PACU nurse,
    You are ready when you are inquisitive as you are. My only recommendation is that you make sure your hospital is willing to give you a good critical care class. If they will not/do not at your institution, I recommend you go to one that will foster ICU skills in a good preceptorship program with classroom time.
  10. by   cowboyRN
    If you are working in PACU, you should probably be proficient in ACLS, read monitors/know your rythms, have a good working understanding of different airways and how to use them, knowledgable in conscience sedation, some experience with pressure lines and reading wave forms. If that is the case, find a good preceptor program and go for it.

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