Tele just means they have tele on. My guess is that this is probably a pretty small hospital you're talking about? Where I got my first job, there were plenty of med/surg with tele floors, but I worked on stepdown, and a highly acute one at that. On the unit where I worked, the nurses titrated cardiac drips like Cardizem, Nitro, Cardene etc. and others like insulin, ativan etc. all based on parameters, without calling docs.
We got active chest pains, active GI bleeds, DKA, Sepsis, ARDS, Bipaps up to 100%, etc. Basically any patient not on a ventilator, we would take. It sounds like your hospital doesn't have a transitional unit like this, which means the ICU probably keeps these types of patients. I would either try to get into a bigger hospital, or do a year on your med/surg tele and then try to transition to the ICU. Either would be fine.