New Grad Programs in the ICU what should we look for?

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    Hello All,
    We are a group of 4 students in our last 8 weeks of a BSN program. It is really coming down to making some decisions about what direction we want to take our nursing careers. So we want to pose a few questions to all of you experienced nurses. We are all ambitious and want to go for it all...Our biggest interests right now are in acute care and we are all considering going into ICU. Our dilemma is that according to most of our instructors and some of our preceptors going straight into ICU would be a fine idea. We have also been asking a lot of people we work with in this area whether they would suggest starting in Med surg or ICU. The replies have varied. We have found that the nurses who started in Med Surg tended to suggest that MS is the best place to start and those who started in other areas have tended to suggest that we do what interests us most. We would love to hear some of your opinions and it would be great to hear what kinds of things you think we should consider when looking at new grad programs in the ICU and in Med Surg. thanks for your time...We are looking forward to your replies.
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    I believe if you start in an area that you are interested in you will be better off than being forced to work in an area that you view just as a stepping stone. The problem will be convincing the nurse manager that you are mature enough and have enough critical thinking experience. I would encourage anyone to go for it. I work in ICU and love it, I have been a RN for 6 yrs and there has never been a day where I haven't learned something or made a note to go home and look something up. The best advice I can give is not to let others discourage you, ask a lot of questions - you would be suprised how many MD's actually like to explain the how's and why's and this could lead to a good relationship when they know you have their patients best interests at heart. Another good learning source are the Resident doctors they take turns in ICU rotations and are there to learn so follow them into your rooms, review the X-rays etc..
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    I would encourage you to go right into whatever area you are interested in. There is a certain set of skills in every area and none are more complex than another as far as learning. I went right into ICU from school and don't regret it. I would recommend starting off at a large teaching hospital for your first job. There are nurse educators dedicated to your unit and tons of learning experiences. You don't necessarily need a formal class but a really good preceptor that knows the rationale and proper hospital protocol for patient care. Not someone who says "you are not suppossed to do it this way - but, " it's best to learn the proper way of doing things right off the bat. another thing i could suggest is to get certified in everything that you can. ACLS PALS and whatever else your hospital offers. good luck in your careers
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    I think its wonderful that your considering ICU nursing! I have been an RN for 6 years and I pretty much started in the ICU from the get-go. I was an LPN for 3 years in a med-surg area prior to becoming an RN (that experience helped tremendously). It was pretty stressful in the beginning( a year at least) because I had to learn so much..dealings with docs, lines, vents, EKG's etc.. But overall I am glad I went that way. I would check into what type of orientation you will have, will it be an internship? How long? With whom? It would'nt hurt to gain some experience in the med-surg areas. There is something to be said for practicing teamleading, learning to organize, and developing your skills. Overall I am sure you would be much more confident entering a critical care environment. GOOD LUCK!
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    I am a Unit Director of an ICU and I have hired many new grads. Some have done exceptionaly well and others have not. I think you have to really want to learn all aspects of the ICU to be successfull. I have been very selective in my new grad selections. I look for eagerness to learn, agressive personality, team player mentality, and I set mutual goals with my new grads. They get an extensive orientation that I call boot camp. There are 13 classes total not including 12-16 week clinical orientation. I feel if you want to work in an ICU you need to be prepared to dig in and learn, learn learn.
    Good luck.
  8. 0
    Hello! I saw your post and thought I would reply. I am a soon to be GN, graduating on April 30th with my ASN. I am going into a critical care fellowship program. It will be 4-6 months long. There are 10 of us in the program from what I understand. We will work 20 hrs in each unit a week, 2 units, with one preceptor in each unit. Plus we go through a 150hr Critical Care Class, 50hr Trauma Class, Basic EKG class, as well as ACLS before we are done. I really wanted to do ICU from the beginning so that is what I am doing. Best of luck to everyone. If any GN's feel like emailing me feel free. Kim Rush emtchic@hotmail.com


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