I work primarily SICU, but float to MICU on occasion. We have a relatively small hospital with only an SICU and MICU. So our SICU gets pretty much everything from immediate post op CABGs to craniotomies. We also get our fair share of medical ICU on weekends or when MICU is full.
I think it depends largely on your personality and tastes. I'll try to compare the two a little. I imagine this varies largely from hospital to hospital depending on what types of surgeries are done and whether you have specialty units for your CABGs, neuro cases, etc. Also keep in mind that my experience is solely on night shift.
SICU- Post op protocols and routines are usually busy--drawing labs, up in AM, pulling lines, pain management, stressed families (especially with patients who have newly diagnosed problems).
- post op CABGs are busy--q15 min vitals, redrawing labs, frequent assessments, labile hemodynamics often requiring intervention, insulin drips requiring q1hr and sometimes more frequent CBG checks, EKGs, nighttime calls to surgeons (ours are usually hateful), vent weaning, pain management, up in AM, pulling art lines, SWANs, etc which are time consuming.
- "most" patients recover within a few days and are transferred out to a floor or long term acute care as neccessary, so you rarely deal with the same surgical patients for more than a few days.
- Still get a lot of medical patients if MICU can't take them (which happens often). At least 1/4 to 1/2 of our "SICU" patients are actually medical.
- Medical cases like DKA, ETOH withdrawal, COPD exacerbation, MIs, strokes, etc. are common.
- Patients seem to stay longer due to multiple comorbidities, and fair share of frequent flyer DKA and ETOH W/D patients.
- patients tend to be on vents longer than SICU and they see more trachs.
- Our MICU takes our induced hypothermia protocol patients which are few and far between, but very busy and tend to be last ditch efforts.
- Families not as acutely stressed as SICU since medical issues more chronic in nature, however sometimes they can be just as difficult given that they are around for a longer period of time.
Both units have different types of stress, but I find that I usually have more downtime in MICU at night than SICU. I also am more likely to get out on time in MICU due to fewer AM routines than post op patients. Some people like having slow times where as others like to stay on the move.