Tips for becoming a solid CC nursing candidate...

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    I would love some feedback regarding skills that are high on the priority list for a student candidate looking to work in a critical care unit. Work as a student PCT. Check. Get into a step down unit for beginner basics and getting my feet wet. Check. ACLS certification, with other complementary certifications. Check. Affiliations with organizations for networking, learning opportunities, etc. Check. Please don't be shy; I am interested in details. For instance, what would you have preferred a heads-up on beforehand, when YOU were a candidate? What is most frustrating to you about fresh meat in the unit? What do you appreciate about new grads?
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    I occasionally participate in panel interviews of candidates for our ICU.

    You will need to be able to explain WHY you want critical care - what draws you to it. If asked your future plans, it is generally not wise to say that you want 1-2 years of CC experience as a prereq for applying to a CRNA program. That would be an instant "fail."

    Experience as a PCT/extern (especially if it's in a CC unit) is very helpful. ACLS certification isn't a requirement, nor is it really much of a "plus" for a candidate. If hired, you'd be going through a bunch of added classes in any case.

    Be able to express excitement, a willingness to learn, and the fact that you do not know it all. Teamwork is a biggie. You would need to be able to fit in with your coworkers, and be willing to offer help and ask for it when needed.

    If you could shadow for a shift in the ICU (and were well received), that would also help your candidacy.
    Anoetos likes this.
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    Critical thinking skills, motivations, and the ability to admit you don't know it all and aren't afraid to ask for help.!
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    Thanks, to you both! I was more referring to technical skills - not necessarily character development or reasons why I want to be in there. Rather, skills that would encompass a solid knowledge base once I start, so that I am immediately able to contribute to the success of my team and my patients. Any feedback of this nature would be wonderful - as I'm fairly certain that I don't, in fact, know it all... The last thing I want to do is trip over my own two feet trying to get my bearings if it doesn't need to be that way. I'd rather approach it as if I'm preparing for the job, and not so much preparing for the interview.
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    I've worked in ICU for more than a decade, am a preceptor to new grads, and always participate in new grad interviews for our unit. I can tell you that sitting through a dozen interviews a day, it is most important to PRACTICE your interview skills and to sell yourself! Do not bore me or you will fail! You need to be enthusiastic about wanting to work for our hospital and specifically our unit. Its great to have long term goals but don't tell me we're a stepping stone to your CRNA in 1 year because I don't want to waste time to train someone who will leave that soon! It's great that you worked as a tech but can you tell me about your teamwork skills? I know you want "technical" skills, but honestly you should just have some common sense when I ask you scenario questions. We send you to classes and will teach you the rest on orientation. Good Luck!
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    You know, I guess I'm just hoping that I can bank on the idea that I'm not wasting years of time and effort for someone to tell me that everything I'm doing this for is null if I don't pass a personality test. I have such a wonderful rapport with all of my colleagues, and I have for many MANY years. So, forgive me if I find it incredibly amusing that even though I've clarified my expectations, I can't get a more straightforward idea of what it is I could be doing * other than character development * to be more available for my future colleagues to utilize. Is there no one out there who can communicate explicitly about my inquiry?????
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    Quote from StudentEtc.
    You know, I guess I'm just hoping that I can bank on the idea that I'm not wasting years of time and effort for someone to tell me that everything I'm doing this for is null if I don't pass a personality test. I have such a wonderful rapport with all of my colleagues, and I have for many MANY years. So, forgive me if I find it incredibly amusing that even though I've clarified my expectations, I can't get a more straightforward idea of what it is I could be doing * other than character development * to be more available for my future colleagues to utilize. Is there no one out there who can communicate explicitly about my inquiry?????
    I have a question...are you looking to be a tech in a critical care unit, or a critical care nurse??? I read your question, their responses-which, IMO, are pretty good...If you are planning to be a critical care nurse as a new grad, you will build on your experiences, but the information that some of the posters, are pretty sound to me. I am a new grad and start in a CC position in Feb, and for the poster that sits on a panel that interviews nurses, they may be impressed by your ability to be comfortable with the atmosphere, but do want to know those aspects about you as well...I just need clarification of what actual position you are desiring...maybe I'm not connecting with what you are saying-post holiday brain I guess!
    CrabbyPatty likes this.
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    I'd love to be working eventually in CICU. I have a friend who works in ICU, who advised me to be very comfortable with cardiac monitoring, hemodynamics, and all types of shock, but I was just aiming to build on that. Am I expecting too much? I mean, in reality, will I not be expected to do any more than these things and shoot off sharp one-liners? I do have a tendency to get ahead of myself sometimes, just appreciate directness, I guess.
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    Quote from StudentEtc.
    I'd love to be working eventually in CICU. I have a friend who works in ICU, who advised me to be very comfortable with cardiac monitoring, hemodynamics, and all types of shock, but I was just aiming to build on that. Am I expecting too much? I mean, in reality, will I not be expected to do any more than these things and shoot off sharp one-liners? I do have a tendency to get ahead of myself sometimes, just appreciate directness, I guess.
    Whatever path you choose, if you start out in your first CC position or transition to CC, you will be in class. They do not expect you to come on the floor and identify a couplet, ST elevations, depressions, etc. without a review and proof of competency.If you want familiarity with those subjects, there are critical care books-The one I have from nursing school is Critical Nursing Secrets...there may be others, but they have hemodynamic monitoring, cardiac monitoring, system by system monitoring, assessments, etc. A great reference book for school and for the floor. You can take a cardiac monitoring course if you choose. A poster also said to shadow an ICU nurse, which I think is the best route. Find that if you are able to do that as well, especially if you can in the unit that you want to be in, you may make an impression on that unit...hope this helps!!!
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    Wow, that's great to know! Thank you for your thoughtful response. I will look for the book. I've read about other CC books on the market, and other posters are raving about those, too. . . . so, it looks like I'll be looking for those with the best reviews. Again, thanks for seeing past my temporary petulance! My appreciations!!!


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