Med surg exp before CCU??

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    i am currently a bsn student graduating in 2010 and i've heard mixed feelings about getting at least 1 yr med surg experience before any icu experience. i love children and my ultimate goal is to become a crna in a children's hospital.... but once i graduate should i make plans to begin in a regular med surg floor or go straight to picu or nicu? taking at least a yr or so to get that med surg exp makes sense to me because i'll be a new graduate, but is it against me if i don't?

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  2. 9 Comments...

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    I took the NICU position first thing out of school. I entered a wonderful 6 month new grad orientation/training program (I have 7 weeks left). NOTHING could have made me go back to adults after school, I applied for jobs in Children's Hospitals across the country and relocated 8hrs away from home for the one I got. There were those NICU's that told me to get adult med surg experience first but no way, I would have done peds med surg before going into critical care if that was my only way into the pediatric world but children are nothing like adults and the only thing adult med surg is going to give you experience with is time management, thats all, and if you get into a good, supportive new grad program you will have that opportunity to develop time management skills. Everything else, assessments, meds & how you interact with the patients is very different in the pedi population...in my own opinion at least...

    oh, by the way, start applying NOW, I don't know where your located but in my part of the country (east coast) jobs are scarce, and specialties are few and far between. My nurse manager told us that she is already interviewing & hiring May 2010 graduates to start in August 2010
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    Thanks for the info! Very helpful. I graduate in Dec 2010. I am interested in doing one of these programs in a very well known hospital in Texas, as they offer these positions to grads from our school, if I can't find any in my current city location. Yes, I'm in med surg clinicals now and I absolutely hate it!
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    Hi! i graduated in april and landed a PICU job right off the bat. I had no peds experience but saw the posting and gave it a try; and got it! =)
    CCU would oftern offer orientation classes and a bunch of training shifts to get you comfortable to the patient population and environment. so i don't think getting a 1 year experience on med/surg is really necessary... and again. peds and adults are so different!
    Good luck with everything!
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    Quote from 4chun_cookie
    Hi! i graduated in april and landed a PICU job right off the bat. I had no peds experience but saw the posting and gave it a try; and got it! =)
    CCU would oftern offer orientation classes and a bunch of training shifts to get you comfortable to the patient population and environment. so i don't think getting a 1 year experience on med/surg is really necessary... and again. peds and adults are so different!
    Good luck with everything!

    Hey! Where did you get the job at, if you don't mind me asking? I am looking for hospitals that hire new grads into peds ICU =]
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    Thanks so much!
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    Quote from chickidee717
    Hey! Where did you get the job at, if you don't mind me asking? I am looking for hospitals that hire new grads into peds ICU =]
    Hi Chickidee717,

    I'm in Canada, working at the Stollery Children's hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. I can't say that the orientation course is phenominal, but it's a start in PICU. =)

    good luck with your job search! :spin:
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    Quote from 4chun_cookie
    Hi Chickidee717,

    I'm in Canada, working at the Stollery Children's hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. I can't say that the orientation course is phenominal, but it's a start in PICU. =)

    good luck with your job search! :spin:
    Children's national in Washington DC also hires new grads into the PICU/CICU(pedi)/NICU, if you're interested I advise you to start making contacts now
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    I started as a new grad on a general med/surg pediatric unit at a big teaching hospital (not a children's hospital, so we got the range of everyting from neuro to cardiology to heme/onc), and worked there for just over a year before moving to a PICU at a children's hospital.

    I know plenty of people start out as new grads in the PICU, but in my experience, it's a much smoother transition if you have a little nursing experience under your belt and are coming from a floor environment. Learning how to be a nurse is hard enough without having to worry about critical care and all the associated machines, drips, drugs and stress that comes along with it. Out of 11 new grads who started in the PICU when I started work there, only 6 finished orientation and still work there. For them, orientation was very stressful, overwhelming, and often frustrating. My orientation to the PICU - while stressful and frustrating at times - was very smooth and couldn't have been easier.

    Just a thought..
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    I would second what cannew had to say. I know lots of people who started in PICU or NICU as new graduates. Some have done great and loved it. Others have struggled all along or had a particularly difficult first year. There is so much to learn in regards to assessment, technology, communication with children and families, medications, conditions, etc. I chose to start my career in a NICU step-down knowing my ultimate goal was NICU or PICU. I have never regretted this decision. I did this partly on recommendation of a friend who was a PICU nurse. She says that the nurses who started in PICU as new grads were good nurses, but she felt the nurses with prior experience, especially peds experience, had an edge even after the same total amount of experience. I feel like my first couple years of experience was directly related to my ultimate interest, but yet not the pressure of the critical care environment. When I made transition to our large NICU, I came in with strong assessment skills, recognition of normal, knowledge of neonatal conditions, communication and time management skills, and a readiness to take on the next level. Do I have some days that I am overwhelmed? Sure. But I feel like this transition has been very smooth overall, and I feel like as I am learning new things I can focus on the details and really understand rather than being overwhelmed with the many things to learn as a new nurse. I work with some nurses who started in adult med-surg. They brought with them confidence, time management, and an over professionalism, but I don't think they were able to translate as much of their knowledge. So....I would hands-down recommend getting some pediatric floor or step-down experience rather than adult med-surg experience.


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