ICU jobs in Pittsburgh...

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    I have been wanting to do CC since I graduated two years ago and seem to have a hard time getting in somewhere. I had the chance to work at Shadyside in their Neuro ICU but I turned it down as a GN and regret it.

    I have worked medsurg with telemetry for two years and my passion is to do CC. I work at a community hospital for UPMC and they're really dumb about me transferring there. I was told I need to go to the PCU to get drip experience and etc but yet she later tells me she hires GNs and they're all doing great. It was a slap in the face to me since I have more experience as a nurse than a GN does, not to mention why do I have to take the long road to get where they are? Doesn't seem fair to me. And a med surg RN I used to work with who has as much nursing experience as me was accepted into the ER of the hospital so I don't understand why I'm such an exception to this. I know that I am a good nurse. I have been in charge when I did medsurg on the offshifts all the time and trained new nurses. I have also had CC MD's come to me after a code telling me that I would be perfect for the ICU.

    I recently transferred to the OR in an attempt to try something new and get away from med surge, not to mention I was not wanted in the ICU. Well, it turns out that after only three weeks of the OR I already know it's not for me and my calling is the ICU, it always has been. I am not interested in counting and sutures and all that they do in the OR and no matter how hard I try I can't get into it. I am more into what the CRNAs are doing. It's not what I thought it would be and I don't want to lose my assessment skills and med knowledge, I want to build on it.

    So, my question is does anyone work for UPMC in an ICU and how can I get there? Are any of them hiring? For anyone who works for UPMC I looked on MyHub and didn't see any openings. Any feedback would be nice. Thanks and sorry its kinda long.
    Last edit by SandraDeeRN on Mar 5, '07
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

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    Two of my classmates went to Presby's NICU and CTICU right out of school. AGH has a revolving door on most of it's ICUs. You shouldn't have any problems getting an ICU position. If you want to leave the Dark Side, AGH has NICU, MICU, and trauma positions.
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    Thanks. I work for UPMC though and my contract is up this summer so I can't go to AGH yet if I wanted to. I've heard bad things about that place though....
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    When your contract is up, try AGH Suburban campus. Small 6 bed ICU, nice stepping stone for a larger ICU experience.
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    I will be graduating in December and I'm signed up for 2 years with UPMC. I am leaning towards CRNA right now after a lot of shadowing and research not only following CRNA's but also NP's and PA's to determine what my best fit is. Quite honestly I like aspect about all 3 but the more and more I learn about what it is to be a CRNA the more that is catching up and surpassing the rest.

    Anyway I bring that up cause I am looking at the possibility of trying to land a ICU job right out of school. I imagine competition is tough between new grads? Any idea on how some of UPMC's ICU's look at wannabe CRNA's?

    I have heard that CTICU is the way to go. Any particular tips on landing a job at one of these places? I have yet to even meet with a recruiter so I have no idea what to expect. What do they base your prospects for employment on? Grades? Letters of recommendation from clinical instructors or something?

    Any other general advice?
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    I went to a CT ICU right out of nursing school. Both AGH and UPMC hire new grads to the ICU. I work at AGH, two of my classmates (2006) work at UPMC Presby. We talk a lot, compare notes. Our co-workers at both facilities have been supportive and helpful. From what they have told me, UPMC isn't quite as good to it's nurses as WPAHS. AGH nurses are unionized, so they are treated better as far as mandation, staffing, overtime, stipends, etc. As far as what the hospitals based our employment offers on, your guess is as good as mine. We all provided transcripts, etc., interviewed, and accepted the positions. AGH provides a NCLEX prep course for all new GNs, and extensive training for all new ICU nurses (RN or GN). UPMC Presby follows pretty much the same script. Due to the intensity of the ICU enviroment in a level one facility, turnover is common, so you should have a good opportunity to land a CT ICU position. Good luck to you. It does get easier as time goes by...
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    jamst...you shouldn't have any trouble getting into an ICU out of school. Whatever you're offered take it. You'll get the experience and will be able to go anywhere else if you decide to. I turned down a job at shadyside in their neuro ICU as a GN two years ago and regret it. So now even though I have med surg and cardiac step down experience I am still struggling to make it to the ICU where I wanted to go in the first place...they take GN's over me and other RN's (no offense) right into the ICU and it makes no sense.

    As far as what they're looking for, well to be honest I think it's anyone with a nursing degree at this point. Your grades in school don't reflect the kind of RN you will be. I know people who got all A's in school and are terrible when they're on the floor and vice versa. I don't remember much about my interviews but the questions were general like why do you want to be a nurse, did you do anything in clinicals during school that picked up on something wrong with your patient (to see your critical thinking I guess) and just normal job interview questions.

    I work for UPMC in one of their community hospitals and it seems to be more competitive there to get into the ICU. I would probably go to Presby if you're interested in UPMC. You will get a ton of experience and like I said once you've worked there you can work anywhere. Good Luck!
    Last edit by SandraDeeRN on Apr 16, '07
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    being part of a code, assuming you mean a cardiac/resp arrest on the floor, is not the same as working in an CCU/ICU. Because , you feel you belong in that setting, does not mean you would do good. Try to see if you could shadow with someone. You seem to have the desire, but you have to have a strong and flexible knowledge of your role as a nurse. Being a CCU RN, is not just reading monitors, hanging drips, and using specialized equipment. It includes everything, every nurse in the med/surg unit does and all the aforementioned responsibilities. It takes a particular personality that nursing school doesn't teach. Good luck, but be honest about yourself .
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    I went to Presby's neuro trauma ICU right out of school. I was hired during the summer before my final semester. It was shockingly easy. As a new grad, I was set up with a tour of all the ICUs and appointments with each of the unit directors. I had my pick. All they wanted was someone with a pulse who was NCLEX eligible.

    Decide what kinds of critical care you can see yourself in. Presby has nine ICUs. I suggest you get to know the UDs names and just start making some calls.


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