Med Surg Nurses That Switched Over to ICU Nursing

  1. 0
    Hello all!

    I currently work on an 18 bed med surg floor with a 6:1 nurse patient ratio and have been doing so since October of 2012. I graduated from nursing school with my heart set on working in the ICU, but I was never able to secure a position in critical care. While I have valued my time on the floor getting great practice with clinical skills, assessments, charting etc., I still long to work in the critical care setting. I actually have an interview at a Level I trauma facility in the SICU soon. I was wondering if there are any med surg nurses out there that made the switch to ICU before doing one year of med surg. Any feedback is welcome. Thank you!

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  2. 15 Comments...

  3. 0
    I went straight into the ICU. It is possible. Good luck!
  4. 0
    Thank you very much! I am praying that I land this position. What skills and qualities do you think are necessary in order to be a successful ICU nurse?
  5. 0
    I would love to hear from nurses who made the transition from med surg to ICU. What have your experiences been and what advice would you offer in order to be successful?
    Last edit by GaMommy81 on Feb 17, '13 : Reason: Punctuation
  6. 1
    Quote from GaMommy81
    Thank you very much! I am praying that I land this position. What skills and qualities do you think are necessary in order to be a successful ICU nurse?
    I am speaking as a new nurse (I have been working for 7 months) but I'll give you my observations so far:

    Skills:

    •Strong assessment skills
    •Time mgmt and organization
    •Ability to work with several lines, drips, etc. (I find this takes a ton of patience for constant untangling)
    •Strong therapeutic communication - lots of family and pts going through the most difficult time of their lives.


    Qualities:

    •Excellent judgment, ability to think critically
    •Strong knowledge of diseases, pathophysiology, medications, and treatments
    •Assertiveness and strong patient advocacy
    •Ability to cope with high stress situations and with death
    •A sense of humor - but I find this to be a general requirement for life, really.
    •Mental focus - ICU nurses have to constantly assess and reassess
    GaMommy81 likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from christyness
    I am speaking as a new nurse (I have been working for 7 months) but I'll give you my observations so far:

    Skills:

    •Strong assessment skills
    •Time mgmt and organization
    •Ability to work with several lines, drips, etc. (I find this takes a ton of patience for constant untangling)
    •Strong therapeutic communication - lots of family and pts going through the most difficult time of their lives.


    Qualities:

    •Excellent judgment, ability to think critically
    •Strong knowledge of diseases, pathophysiology, medications, and treatments
    •Assertiveness and strong patient advocacy
    •Ability to cope with high stress situations and with death
    •A sense of humor - but I find this to be a general requirement for life, really.
    •Mental focus - ICU nurses have to constantly assess and reassess
    I ll be working in a StepDown ICU in a Trauma II facility; we have pts on vents, drips, etc. We are also facility's stroke unit for the first 24 hrs. Would you think the above advice would qualify for a new grad like myself in this setting?
  8. 0
    Thank you christyness. This is very good advice.
  9. 0
    Yes, it is likely you will deal with death and emergency situations, so the qualities and skills needed by nurses in that area would be similar.
  10. 1
    I did 1 year of med surg and then got a position in a neuro-medical ICU. I've been there for about 7 months now and I'm so much happier! It's definitely been difficult learning so much new stuff, but I come home every day having enjoyed my experience, and I look forward to what I'm going to learn at work the next shift, instead of dreading it like I used to. You're going to go in with some good time management skills already, and that'll be a big help. Try and get your ACLS before going if possible, it'll show that you're motivated and want to learn. It might be difficult to move to ICU with less than a year, but keep trying, it's worth it!
    C-lion likes this.
  11. 1
    SICU can be a scary place, especially for a new nurse.
    We have had more than a few newbies come through our unit. Some have succeeded and others have not. The one constant that I have observed is that the ones that stay are usually bright individuals with a lot of self motivation. They are constantly asking questions and have a desire to learn. Good luck to you and don't be afraid to ask questions.
    lovelylady3 likes this.


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