Looking to transition out of ICU

  1. 0
    I'm looking to transition out of ICU. My body just can't take the physical aspect anymore. Transferring patients from bed to bed, turning and repositioning Q2 hours, elevating arms and legs that are heavier than me. A back injury in 2010, whiplash in 2011 and was just diagnosed with pelvic prolapse. I'm 35, petite, active and in good health otherwise, so there are no health improvements to help my situation, unless someone could let me borrow time machine. Anyway, looking for feedback for those who have worked in other areas aside from ICU. What units cause less strain and less physical demand? I know that no area is free of moving patients, but looking to do it less, and hopefully a whole lot less Was thinking overall PACU might be better? Cath lab, IR? (I know you wear lead, but I've been told if the lead is custom fitted that it's not bad at all). Also, my experience and observation in IR and cath lab is that they have more patient transfer devices, and that they are regularly utilized: eg. slide boards, roller boards.

    Any insight would be great appreciated....

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 2
    I feel like there's overall less lifting on floors, but if you've never done anything but ICU a floor would be hell on earth for you. It's bad enough for those adapted to it.
    annietart and sugarmagnolia3 like this.
  4. 0
    Thank you so much for replying. I don't think I could do it. I enjoy floating to other units once in a while, but I don't think I could make a career working on tele. I'm also looking to expand my knowledge base instead of go backwards. With that being said, I might have to consider it at some point because of physical reasons. I'm definitely going to think more about PACU though or maybe the procedural areas, endo, cath lab etc.
  5. 2
    I have not done this myself, but my friend transitioned from ICU to PACU. She loves it, she told me that several other ICU nurse have done that.
    LadyFree28 and sugarmagnolia3 like this.
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    I wanted the same thing. Went to IR and it was a relief. In addition to the devices used for transfers, there is always easy access to 3 other people to help. Also, many of the patients are ambulatory and can move themselves from stretcher to procedure table and back (depending on the case/sedation level) I think PACU and cath lab would be good as well.
  7. 3
    Quote from sugarmagnolia3
    Thank you so much for replying. I don't think I could do it. I enjoy floating to other units once in a while, but I don't think I could make a career working on tele. I'm also looking to expand my knowledge base instead of go backwards. With that being said, I might have to consider it at some point because of physical reasons. I'm definitely going to think more about PACU though or maybe the procedural areas, endo, cath lab etc.
    I think those procedural areas are probably better - but i wouldn't look at floor nursing as "going back." It's just a different set of nursing priorities that aren't as "medically" focused.
    Sparrow91, LadyFree28, and alrighThen like this.
  8. 0
    Cath lab definitely has transfer friendly devices, but they also pull sheaths all day in recovery. It is very hard on the shoulders and hands holding manual pressure like that. I work in CVICU and just holding pressure for like 20 mins on one patient makes my hands go numb and they shake. I can't imagine doing it all day like they do.
  9. 0
    I recently left Medical ICU and began working in an Open Heart Recovery Room. I also wanted something less physically demanding and that I could see myself doing more long-term. My back would hurt almost every day after I left work, but since I've started in OHRR I have had no problems whatsoever! The only type of transfer that we do with our patients is helping them stand up (while another nurse moves their bed and puts a chair behind them) to sit in a chair the morning after surgery. The patients are able to do most of the work themselves, because they have to be healthy enough to even be a candidate for surgery. The OR staff gets the bed and puts the patient on it after surgery, so they are already on their bed when we get them. We roll them of course to wash their backs and turn them, but again, no morbidly obese or bedridden patients because those patients aren't surgery candidates. You still get the critical care aspect because they are usually on about 8-10 drips when they come out, you have a swan, an arterial line, chest tubes, and the ventilator. We wean and extubate them after surgery and the next day they get to start eating, we pull one of their chest tubes, take out the cordis, art line, foley, and then transfer them to the Cardiac Stepdown floor! It's such a quick turnaround and it's very rewarding. If your hospital does CVT surgery you should definitely look into a move to OHRR!
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    In a procedural area you'll find yourself standing for long periods of time which can be straining in your back. And, while custom lead may be better, good luck finding a hospital that will pay for it and it's expensive to purchase on your own. You'll also be in a call rotation and depending on the size of the hospital, could spend a great deal of your night working on-call then having to work the next day.

    I do know several of the PACU nurses are former ICU nurses and they love it. You still have some of the critical care aspect though typically not as critical. Where I work, any patient that is to remain intubated bypasses PACU and goes straight to the floor. But there is that "stable" patient that crashes on occasion.There is little moving of patients as they are already in the bed that will take them to phase II recovery or the floor. You will have to turn them to clean them up and check incisions/dressings if on the backside. The only very physically demanding piece I've noticed in PACU is patients that become combative coming out of anesthesia. And I swear they are 100 times stronger waking up. But it's not something that you encounter with every patient.
    Altra likes this.
  11. 1
    NICU?
    melby likes this.


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